Some choices we make aren’t monumental. Whether I eat Cheerios or Rice Krispies in the morning probably won’t change the course of my day. But whether or not I am still holding on to my anger over something Brian said or did the night before certainly can. It has been my experience that we often trivialize the things of importance, making excuses for why it is ok for us to do what we want, all the while wasting time agonizing over something like where we will eat for dinner. One of our responsibilities as Christians is to keep a proper perspective on our choices. If we make our choices with eternity in mind, we will always have the right perspective.
In the story of Abraham and Lot, Lot was a lot like many of us. He had some rough things thrown at him in his life: His parents were gone and he was being raised by his uncle. He didn’t appear to have any siblings either so he was truly alone in the world without Abraham. He knew what it was to hurt and have genuine needs. However, under his uncle’s watch and care, he learned how to care for his flocks and they increased greatly until he was quite wealthy as well.
With Abraham, he had all he needed and more. He lived as comfortably as a nomad can. When it became obvious that they needed to separate, he chose the path of least resistance, the path of the most immediate comfort. Can we blame him? I am a city girl at heart. I take no pleasure in the truly rustic way of life. I can understand wanting to live closer to the comforts of city living – even if the inhabitants of that city were well known for their great wickedness. And Lot didn’t just move right in to the middle of the town square, he pitched his tents near Sodom at first, not in Sodom. I imagine he felt that he could be close enough to enjoy the comforts and conveniences of the city without being caught up in the evil inside. Later on however, we learn that he has moved within the city gates. He was even carried off as plunder in a war when Sodom was ransacked (read the story in Genesis ch.14).
Abraham ended up taking 318 men and going out to rescue him once he heard the news. In spite of such a frightening experience, Lot went right back to living in the heart of the city. He took a wife and raised 2 daughters there. No doubt by this time, he had grown so accustomed to the lifestyle of the people around him that he was no longer burdened by it. When the angels came to rescue him, he was hesitant to leave. He begged for more time and for an easier route. He lost all he had accumulated in those years and ended up losing his wife and future sons-in-law as well. The choices he felt justified in making early on, became huge snares to him. The ones he trivialized proved to be the ones that should’ve been made with more thought and care. The fact that he and his daughters even survived is credited to the faith of Abraham.
So where does that leave us? Making decisions with eternity in mind. Abraham mostly made his choices based on love, loyalty and faith in God. Lot made his choices based on comfort and prosperity. In America, it is so easy to follow in the way of Lot. We have the luxury of making choices about what kind of job we work at, where we will go to school, whether we will buy this outfit or that, and what kind of dressing to put on our salad. I have been mortified lately, hearing the news coming out of Iraq about the brutal treatment of Christians there. Those men and women have no such luxuries. The decisions they are making are life and death, heaven and hell. Someday, we could very easily find ourselves in their shoes. Let us be prayerful about the choices we make. Comfort isn’t everything. In fact, it could be the very thing that sends us down the road to destruction.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
Prior to the destruction of Sodom, Abraham had been conversing with God. Abraham felt confident enough to ask God to spare the cities if enough righteous people could be found within. He even became bold enough to go from asking him to save the cities for 50 to asking for only 10. Unfortunately, there were not even 10 righteous ones within. But because of the faithfulness of one man, a family was saved from the destruction.
When we are faithful, God can use us to make a big difference in the lives of others. And when all is said and done in this life, is there anything else that really matters?