Abram has to go back to starting point.
With this new start, though, his stock is greatly increased. His partnership with Sarai has benefitted him greatly; not only him, but also his nephew Lot. From their sojourn in Egypt, the two have acquired so much livestock, and have so many servants to maintain them, so many tents for their shelters, that “the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together”(Genesis 13: 6).
We could see this in one of two ways. We could, on the one hand, lament that prosperity splits the family, in the sense that that they can no longer inhabit the same space. On the other, we can rejoice that one man’s fortune does not curb the other’s capacity to increase.
Yes, we can, like Abram be wise enough to recognise that in God’s scheme there is enough for everyone; and no single person’s progress must stifle the other’s ambition. Abraham resisted a property fight, at a time and in a place that was not yet theirs anyway. He let Lot have the first choice.
Lot chose the plains of Jordan which looked fertile and promising. However, as the old proverb insists, “all that glitters is not gold.”
Abram chose Canaan. What he probably did not know was that, in yielding to Lot, he was shedding another encumbrance to his progress. God waited when he was alone to promise him that the land he had chosen would indeed be gifted to his offspring. And he built another altar to the Lord.
Why do we not understand that in God’s scheme there is enough for everybody? We really ought not to fight each other when we can agree to disagree and go our separate ways when our plans for prosperity clash. See, some were content to remain herders for Abram. No doubt, some would want to be their own bosses; and there were means and space enough for that. When we start thinking that in order to increase we must have others diminish, we show our failure to observe that God can richly bless whoever God chooses. Your blessings will not diminish mine if the two come from God’s unlimited source.
And why do we want so much anyway, that others proximally close to us must go without? Do we understand that “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we shall carry nothing out”? (1 Timothy 6: 7 cf. Job 1:21)
Teach us O Lord the art of contentment. Make us ready to yield that which might unknowingly hinder our own development.
Help us to learn that our flourishing ought not require the diminishing of those around us, We’re in this life’s journey together. Help us to travel together for the benefit of each other. Amen.