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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘First’ as in… the First Day of School. I’ve always loved the beginning of a new school year. Waking up on the morning of the first day of school with my heart pounding and my blood pumping created a wild mixture of terror, excitement, nervousness and thrill.

There were so many questions to answer: What’s my schedule? Who’s my teacher? Where’s my classroom? What if I can’t find it? Where’s the lunchroom? Who will I sit with? What if my lunch makes my back pack stink? What if I get sick and have to throw up?

All of this reminds me of a famous quote by the late Carl Sandburg, an American biographer, journalist, and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry. He gave words to what nearly every kid was feeling on the first day of school with these words:

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.”

The first day of school often feels like that; like stepping off the map into the unknown! Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like you don’t know where you’re going? Sure, you know you’re on your way, but the present is a little wobbly and the future seems a little murky?

We all do. Welcome to the first day of school!

There’s a remarkably insightful passage in the first book of the bible, the book of Genesis – let’s just call it “The Book of New Beginnings.” The first three-and-a-half verses of chapter 12 challenge us to step into the story about the man named Abram. Abram experienced a lot of change and transition in his life; not the least of which was learning how to put on a diaper – not his own, mind you, but that of his infant son, Isaac. And when Abram was just 99 years old, he had his name changed from Abram, which meant ‘Exalted Father,’ to Abraham which means ‘Father of Many Nations’ just to bring a little more focus to what he was going to be doing with the rest of his life.

Here’s the story…

12:1 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. 2 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. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. So Abram went as the Lord had told him…”

Quite possibly the most important three words in this whole story are the first three:

“So Abram went…”

Nothing happens if Abram doesn’t go. And he goes.

And so it goes with us. Abram’s call to go toward a new and different world is our call as well. We’re being called to step off our maps into all manner of new places to which God is calling us. And the promise that God will show us the way is the promise that grips all who are feeling like they don’t know where they’re going, but know they’re on their way toward everything that feels like the first day of school.

Let me ask you: Where are you going? Who are your teachers? Who will you go with? What do you expect to learn? What will the challenges be? What will the blessings be?

Remember, you won’t be alone on the first day of school!


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


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