Abraham and his nephew Lot coexisted with their large sheep and cattle business for some time. But eventually prosperity crowded them and they had to go their separate ways. They stood together and looked North, South, East, and West. Abraham led the way and said to Lot, “Is not the whole land before you? If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” Lot looked things over, saw the streams and green grass and chose the best for himself.
And why shouldn’t he? Abraham gave him the choice, after all. And surely he needs to look out for himself and all those depending on him. Whether he should have or shouldn’t have I’m not addressing. I am admiring Abraham’s role in this. He did not depend on the outward circumstances for his prosperity but on God. God had made certain promises to him and that was enough. Abraham believed God…
It is a common theme in scripture to be humble and not look out for number one but for others. The apostle Paul exhorts us to prefer others above ourselves. He also says to not only look out for own interests but the interests of others. We are called to serve. Jesus said if we want to be great in God’s kingdom we need to be a servant of all. Jesus said when we are done serving our attitude should be we are only servants and have done our duty. Denying ourselves is just that. Blessing those who mistreat us is just that. Turning the other cheek is just that. Enduring wrong for the sake of what is right is virtuous.
In the western world, we have adopted an attitude of looking out for ourselves and not letting anyone get the best of us or wrong us. This isn’t entirely a bad attitude. But it is when it gets in the way of living the gospel. When we were called to become disciples of Jesus we were called to be inconvenienced. But oh, us Americans hate to be inconvenienced! Our lives have become too busy to serve. “I don’t have time” is a common excuse for not serving our brother or sister. What we are really saying is I have chosen to be too busy to bless others. Beloved, we are called to serve above all so we need to find time.
During the past year plus of fighting advanced cancer, my family and I have consistently witnessed the body of Christ be the body of Christ. The prayers for us are endless, as well as meals, visits, and generous giving. Many people have inconvenienced themselves repeatedly to serve us and look out for our interests instead of theirs. We are greatly humbled by the kindness of many. We often wonder what the will of God is for our lives but I submit God has made most of His will very clear in scripture. We have an opportunity to live the gospel and speak the gospel in everyday life if we would just slow down, notice chances to bless others and do it. Let’s pay attention to the regular opportunities God entrusts to us to serve others and prefer them above ourselves. This is how we live like Jesus.