Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him…and Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold…and Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.”
Genesis 13: 1-5
King James Version
“Needs Versus Wants”
“God made man to be somebody, not just to have things.”
Have I found my life complicated by the “things” I want?
”We have very little, so we have nothing to be preoccupied with. The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have, the more free you are.”
“And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.”
Genesis 13: 6
King James Version
He was a young man whose father had died. And when Lot’s Uncle Abram got ready to move at the calling of God, young Lot wanted to go, too. Who knows exactly why Lot wanted to make the journey away from family and friends and all he had known in his life. Perhaps he was close to Abram and because Sarai and Abram had no children of their own, it is likely Lot took the place of a “son.” Maybe, Uncle Abram shared the message of God that he would become a great nation and being part of something big and powerful held allure to the young Lot. We aren’t told exactly why Lot and his family joined Abram’s traveling caravan, but they did and along with Abram’s family, Lot and his family made the detour into Egypt and obviously benefited from Pharaoh’s gifts, as well. Sadly, Pharaoh’s possessions didn’t bring joy and harmony into the family.
Can you believe it, in Genesis 13: 6 we are told Abram and Lot had so many “things” the families couldn’t stay together. The family was broken up not by too little but by too much. The wealth they accumulated, instead of being used to bless others became a wedge that finally brought the two groups to a dividing point. William Wilberforce wrote these words that we would do well to consider: “Prosperity and luxury gradually extinguish sympathy, and by inflating with pride, harden and debase the soul.” Sadly, we hear so much today, even in our churches, that leads us to believe the prosperity of possessions is our Divine right, when in fact we may find ourselves eating at Pharaoh’s trough. If more of what one wants brings lasting happiness, then wealthy “stars” should never need drugs to cover the ache in hearts that are often empty and alone.
The author John Ruskin tells of the discovery of a sunken ship off the coast of California. One of the passengers was fastened into his seat by a belt that contained two hundred pounds of gold. And Ruskin asks the question, “As the man was sinking had he the gold? Or had the gold him?”
The Protestant reformer Martin Luther wrote: “A man that depends on the riches and honors of this world, forgetting God and the welfare of his soul, is like a little child that holds a fair apple in the hand, of agreeable exterior, promising goodness, but within ‘tis rotten and full of worms.”
Tomorrow, we will find out what happens when our wants become so large that greed becomes the controlling factor that blinds us when we make the choices in our lives. Poor Lot and his family found out how “all that glitters is not gold.”
“If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.”
“Confession of a Possession”
Are the poor, meek, hungry, weeping
Face to face with my own riches,
Did you do this for me, God?
Did you bless me with this wealth?
Did you gift me?
Was I chosen?
Chosen because of my righteousness?
Chosen because of my heritage?
Did my ancestors rack up credit for me?
Can I rack up credit for my children?
Are they chosen?
I meet mothers with mouths to feed; clothes to rinse in the sink hang in the window; holes to stuff with newspapers against the icy night; buses to catch; losses to mourn; uniforms to mend; floors to mop; who love when they should kick; who comfort when they might burst, whose faith dances lightly around them, blessing everything they touch.
Do I know ‘Blessed’?
If I take more Blessing than my share
Will somebody get less?
Blessed with life and food;
Savor, consecrate, a miracle!
Blessed with life, food, health, family, friends, clothes, cares, designer labels, pets, gardens, gold hoop earrings, appliances, good looks, nice furniture, hair spray, video games, garage door openers, automatic toothbrushes, cleaning ladies, word processors,
Sterling silver toothpicks, personal secretary…
The Blessing fades.
The poor, meek, hungry, weeping.
Chosen to act.
Chosen to shed all of my possessions.
Chosen to leave den and nest behind,
Chosen to let dead bury dead.
Chosen to plow forward; don’t look back.
Chosen to visit the shelter; searching, faltering, into the sorrowful fear.
Chosen to hand out food at the center, letting the grateful hate hang between.
Chosen to watch and listen and find; pieces of them touching pieces of me.
I turn back.
The Saving God will bring us out of our oppression.
The Redeemer will deliver us from our possession.
The poor, meek, hungry, weeping.
The Reverend Gretchen M. B. Pickeral
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.