“In quarrelling, the truth is always lost.” (Publilius Syrus – First Century B.C.)
There is a legend from Greek mythology that the god Hercules was once walking along a narrow road when a strange-looking creature appeared threateningly in front of him. Hercules struck this creature with his club and passed on, but soon afterwards was surprised to be confronted by this same creature, only now three times as large. Hercules struck it again and again and each time it grew in size until finally it completely blocked the road. Then the goddess Pallas Athena appeared to Hercules and told him to stop. “The monster is called Strife,” she said. “Let it alone, and it will soon become as small as it was at first.”
All quarrelling and strife will certainly return to manageable proportions and ultimately cease if one of the quarrellers lets it alone. One is either a peacemaker or one is a ‘stirrer’ – determined to keep the argument going for the sake of personal gain or satisfaction. Take Abraham. His herdsmen quarrelled, and he and Lot might have quarrelled too, had not Abraham taken the wise course and ended it. “Lot,” he said, “this won’t do. Let there be no strife between you and I or between my herdsmen and yours, for we are all brothers.” And then he became the generous mediator and told Lot that he could have the best land in the east, if that was what he wanted. It was wise to separate the two groups and it was generous of Abraham to give Lot first choice. As an elder and clan chief he could have dictated terms but he was above meanness and was blessed as a result.
Abraham was above personal gain, he did not seek after flocks and herds, silver and gold, servants or the best land. God was sought first; other things were added. Lot, on the other hand, couldn’t keep his eyes off the fertile plain of Sodom. He wanted it; then he wanted more; he got it; then he lost it all. Daily we are faced with tests of faith. They might be matters of routine, such as travelling mercies or they may require a momentous decision. Should we, like Abraham, trust in God’s Word and promises, or like Lot, go down the path of wealth?
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I chose the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference”. These immortal words by Robert Frost in his poem The Road Less Traveled could have been pulled straight from Genesis 13. In this chapter, we have two men and a fork in the road. Where before these two men had traveled together down a long and dusty road, they now choose to take separate and different paths. One chose the well traveled road to Vanity Fair. The other went to a lonely countryside. The first ends up losing his possessions and family. The other gains blessing and honor. What was the difference? It was all in the roads they chose to travel.
Abraham was magnanimous, Lot was selfish. Abraham was strong, Lot was weak. Abraham was charitable, Lot was self-seeking. How full is the world of grasping little Lots who always go for the biggest slice, the vacant seat, the first look at the daily paper. And how full is the world of leaders of nations and of business who follow the Lot philosophy. They want power and advantage, then they want more, often they get it, then they lose it all. The philosophy of Lot is Strife. Do you have a disagreement with someone? Be like Abraham and lay the quarrel down, it is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Do it today. Phone or write, but do it.
Have a good week, and seek God’s counsel in decisions you need to make..
Optional Bible reading: Genesis chapter 13
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-sixth year, originating from Gympie, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email send to [email protected] with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions.Pastor Ron Clarke OAMWord for the WeekMbl.: +61 488 424 321