Let others go first.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Genesis 13 teaches us that Abraham (then Abram) and his nephew, Lot, had been traveling together, But the land could not support both Abram and Lot, with all their flocks and herds living so close together (v. 6). Disputes were breaking out, so Abram approached lot to solve the problem; Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! (Genesis 13:8)
Talking to Lot, he said: The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land to the right. If prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.” (13:9)
I am struck by how open-handed Abram was. This decision was not small like what to have for dinner. This was about selecting land that would support each man’s legacy and income, yet Abram said to his nephew,
“You go first.”
We know what happened. Lot “took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt” (13:10) and Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built an altar to the Lord. (13:18)
The assumption is the land Lot selected looked better than the land left over for Abram. How did Abram respond? He went to Hebron and the first thing He did was dedicate his new “address” to the Lord. You see, Abram was never trusting Lot; He was trusting the Lord. That’s why he could live with an open hand and trust God with “second-place” land.
How does this apply to us?
If someone were to follow us around for a day to create an Insta Story to post, would there be record of us saying frequent statements like, “Here, you go ahead,” “Sit where you want,” “Where do you want to eat?”
Do we let others go first as a way of life?
I suspect some shifting in seats is happening, but hang in there, please. I know part of living life wisely includes setting boundaries and taking care of ourselves. God absolutely permits us – and may even command us – to go first or not let someone have their way. Examples include abusive situations and parenting. I suspect, however, that our natural selfish desires tempt us to go first and have our way many more times than we ought. In the vast majority of instances in life, we can live out Romans 12:10 without fear, even letting a young nephew pick land that would determine land for our own generations. How can we do so with confidence?
If we honor others above ourselves, God’s protection and provision will travel with us. If we need a day off, He will provide one in the midst of honoring others above ourselves. If we are in need of provision, God will provide for us even as we are providing for others.
The “leftover” plan for us is perfect.
As it turns out, the good looking land Lot picked had Sodom and Gommorah in it. “But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord.” *13:13)
Lot did not enjoy living in the land he selected.
In fact, he was miserable. 2 Peter 2:7-9 tells us: and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
What looked good for Lot, wasn’t good. What didn’t look as good for Abram, was the perfect land for God’s greatest glory.
In living with an open hand, Abraham was just fine.
We will be “just fine” too. As we live by letting God have His way, our hearts will be less concerned with our rights, our way, our desires, our rest and our happiness. Older age has started to teach me that God takes care of me with surprise days off or sometimes provides strength I didn’t know I had in Him. Either way, we can “be doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22). We can live Romans 12:10 with abandon and follow God in His plan rather than forge ahead with ours.
Picture Explanation: My daughter is seeing where soccer is going to take her. None of us knows the end result, but if she continues to live with an open hand, all will be fine.
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