Abraham, Lot, and Lent

You know, inspiration can come from the craziest places. Today I was reading through my Twitter feed while waiting on my little one to finish ballet. A friend of a friend posted that for Lent she was giving one useful item from her home each day. Sort of a purging of clutter. As I have been on the warpath to rid our home of the EXCESS, that sentiment struck a chord with me. As a Southern Baptist, we don’t celebrate Lent, but I have always been impressed with those who have the will-power to give up something they love for 40 days. I decided to see what the Word has to say about the idea of giving up material things.

I found what I was looking for in the very first book of the Bible. In Genesis 13:5-7 God says this about Abraham and his nephew Lot and their STUFF:

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s.

At this point in the story, Abraham had heard God’s call to leave his home and travel to a land God would show him. Abraham, amazingly, had agreed because he believed Him to be the One True God. In a land that was polytheistic, it was possible that Abraham had never seen or met anyone who believed in One and Only One God. This would have been a foreign concept to him. From infancy he would have been taught to sacrifice to the sun god, the moon god, the fertility god, the harvest god, this-that-and-the-other god to gain their favor. The idea of believing in One God, and walking out that faith by leaving home and land and family to go to a land that God would show him? That’s just crazy talk. But believe Him he did, and now all of Christendom knows Jehovah as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Mercy! The difference one person can make in the lives of thousands and millions that come after him.

So Abraham and his nephew Lot are en route to this new home that God has promised. Everything rocks along just fine until THINGS get in the way. POSSESSIONS cause some major issues for the pair. They have attained so much wealth, much of it in the form of livestock, that the land cannot support them both. There simply isn’t enough food growing in the area to feed all of their animals and people. They had to separate. The end of the story is that Lot went one way and Abraham the other. But let’s look at what happens in the messy middle of the story.

Had Abraham and Lot had the grace to separate peacefully, all would not have been lost, but the last part of verse 7 lets us know that that’s not the case. Because of their possessions, quarreling arose between Abraham’s herders and Lot’s. This uncle and nephew, who obviously adored each other enough to begin a new life together, were eventually separated because of arguing and quarreling over THINGS. Their JUNK became a wedge driven between them. Oh, how I wish I could just shout back into history that PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN POSSESSIONS!! The relationship between family is of far more worth than the junk we carry around.

Friends, are we naive enough (or blind enough) to think that this story doesn’t happen to each one of us today? I mean, I know that it’s the story of Abraham and Lot, but isn’t it all too often OUR STORY? I know we wouldn’t dare say it out loud, this confessions that we value our things more than relationships. We know that the Sunday school answer has it going the other way.

Except that sometimes our actions belie our beliefs.

And we lose our vision.

And we forget that it is people who go into eternity with us, not what we have stockpiled.

Oh, yes. I DO believe that the notion to give away things which we hold dear is a fantastic way to untie ourselves from our belongings. Unyoking ourselves from materialism? Yes, I think the Father would approve of that. Divorcing ourselves from the chaff to marry ourselves to the wheat? That’s a holy union. One that I willingly enter into.

I want less of STUFF and more of HIM. I want to rid my home, my schedule, my life of the clutter which causes nothing but distraction and busy-ness, so that I can have room for more of JESUS.


More LOVE.

More of HIM.


  1. Amen. I am dealing with this too in a different way as our financial situation has changed. God spoke to me clearly a few weeks ago, reminding me that I am not here to store up treasures here on earth…that my treasures are in heaven. That my life here on earth is in preparation for my eternity. The "stuff" in this life definitely distracts me. God reminded me of the people in India who had no possessions but had found the Lord…they were so happy, so joyful, so on fire. I must simplify physically, mentally and emotionally. Keep rockin' on your journey!

  2. Anonymous says

    Ashley, great job looking deeper into this story! God used you to help me take a deeper look at my own "junk", material and otherwise. love ya- Joy

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