Jesus said the entire law depends on keeping two simple commands. We will be faithful if we learn to love God and love our fellow man. I was struck recently by a story from the Bible that sheds light on how this plays out in real life. The story is about Abraham and Lot. Abraham had been instructed by God to dwell in a particular area of land. Lot, Abraham’s nephew was with him and both grew rich. They accumulated so much livestock that it became difficult to find enough food and water for the flocks and herds of both men. Abraham’s men and Lot’s men began to quarrel over their limited resources. Abraham was faced with a dilemma. He had three options.
1. Abraham and Lot could both leave and find a territory that would support all their animals. This would allow him to keep his relationship with Lot and it would allow him to continue to prosper financially. The problem with this option is that it would make him dishonor God by disobedience.
2. Another option would be to divide the land and choose to take the rich and well-watered portion for himself. This would allow Abraham to keep faith with God and continue to prosper financially. The problem with this option is that it would create ill-will with Lot.
3. Abraham chose a third option. He let Lot choose which piece of land He would live on and Abraham took what was left. Not surprisingly, Lot chose the rich, well-watered land for himself and left Abraham to dwell on the mountainous, rocky land.
Abraham was older. He was the Uncle. Lot was just a young nephew. Abraham had the right to choose which land he wanted. However, what we see is a great example of finding a way to keep the two great commands in a sticky situation. By letting Lot choose the good land, Abraham was surely not making the best financial decision. He did however find a way to honor God in obedience and keep his relationship with Lot completely whole. He suffered loss but he found the narrow way that leads to life.
Loving God and loving your neighbor in real life will be costly. If we are going to keep these great commands, we must be willing to suffer. Your suffering might come in the form of financial loss. It could be a loss of status, opportunity, time or any number of things. Whatever it costs, let us be people who answer the call to love.