After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15
What would it take for you? Jeff Bezos adopting you and naming you his heir? Winning the lottery — the one where you get money for the rest of your life? Is it some thing – a house, car, computer or jewelry? Maybe an experience – travel, cruise, jump from a plane? How about a relationship – with that very special someone? What is “your very great reward?”
If we’re not careful christmas can crowd out Advent and when it is gone we will be left with only “things.” They may be pretty, shiny and fun, but we’ll get bored and tire of them early in the new year. They are not the reality of Christmas, they are only wonderful symbols.
In the story God calmed Abram’s worries about the future of his family and promised him something even better than economic stability and a lasting name. He promised him the gift of Himself. Yahweh says to this fearful, flawed man, “I am the best thing that could ever happen to you and I offer myself to you.” It was hard for Abram to hear this so he went on about inheritances. Yahweh, rich in mercy and overflowing in grace, spoke Abram’s language and promised him a lasting bloodline.
During Advent we are invited to consider how God continues to keep his promise to Abram. God the Son came into the world through that bloodline so that we too can receive the “very great reward.” It is the reward of a restored relationship with our Father, once broken by Adam and Eve. It is the reward of renewed life through the Son, once lost through the curse. It is the reward of the experience of the intimate presence of the Holy Spirit, once lost through the Fall.
God’s promise to Abram is meant for us today. This very great reward is for us to know, to taste, to feel, to see! But it is only for those who seek it. It is for those who take time to look, to listen, who quiet themselves and turn aside to just “be” in the presence of the One who is our true Treasure – Jesus Christ.
What is your very great reward?
Amen, let it be.