First Lent Devotional: Genesis 12:1-4

by Jonathan Haefs

Each day of the Lenten season, I will be emailing out a devotional to many of the members of SVCC. I will also be sharing these devotionals via
These are designed to accompany the SVCC Lenten reading guide which may be found here: 
In these devotionals, I will give a link that will take you to the entire reading for the day. I will actually include a few of the verses upon which I will focus my reflections. In the reflection section, I will make a few brief comments which I hope will spur your own thinking and prayers.
Lent is meant to be a season of repentance and fasting that prepares our hearts for the coming celebration of Easter (fuller explanation here). Repentance is a reminder that we need to be saved from our sin…we need a Savior. Fasting reminds us that we are not in need of the things this world offers, but in desperate need of Jesus. So, the point of Lent is that we need Jesus…we need Easter. It is my prayer that these daily devotionals will simply help remind us of our daily need for Christ.
Genesis 12:1-4 (click here)
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
“Follow me.” Do those words sound like loss or gain to you?
Sixteen years ago, when I stood before God, family, and friends, and pledged myself in marriage to Holly, I saw it all as gain. In reality, there was much that I was losing and leaving behind by committing to be Holly’s husband.
I was losing my singleness; I was leaving living with my family. I was losing my total autonomy; in many ways, I was leaving behind the word “mine.” On and on the list could go with more losing and more leaving… yet still I call it “gain!”
Why?… How?…
Because… I gained a bride; I entered into a new family. I gained a new kind of freedom that surpassed the value of my former autonomy; in many ways, I entered into a new kind of “mine” as I am hers and she is mine. On and on the list could go with more gaining and more entering to the point that I look at this marriage and it is no loss to me… it is all gain! 
In Genesis 12, when God called Abram (later given his more well-known name, Abraham) to follow him, I wonder if he heard that call as loss or gain? In reality, there was much that he was losing and leaving behind. He was losing his country and leaving his kindred. He was losing the life he had known and leaving the security of home. Yet, I believe Abram still called it gain!
Why?… How?…
Because he gained God! Abram gained a new country and entered into a new kindred relationship with the Almighty! He gained a new life and entered into a new security as the God of the universe made a covenant with him! By faith, Abram called this gain! I say “by faith” because it would be years before he would see God’s covenant promises come to pass and some he would not ever see come to fruition in his lifetime. But still, Abram looked at the covenant call of God and by faith he called it gain!
What about you? The call of Christ on our lives is similar to the call of Abram. We are called to lose and leave the former life we have known. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. Do those words sound like loss or gain to you? 
O’ Christian, I pray you hear them for the gain they truly are as they call you to gain Christ and enter into true life in him! In Christ you gain a new country, heaven, and you enter into a new kindred with God as your Father and the Church as your family. In Christ you gain eternal life and enter into a new security as all this has been promised to you and purchased by the blood of Jesus.
It’s true, we will not see all these covenant promises come to full fruition in this lifetime, but by faith we look at the covenant call of God knowing that he who promised is faithful and so every step of the way we can call following Christ gain!
Today, will you live like following Jesus is gain? 
Today, when you hear him say, “Follow me…” do those words sound like loss or gain to you?
*All previous devotionals may be found at
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.