Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Grass Looks Greener on the Other Side of the Road: Abram and Sarai Continued

Have you ever gazed upon your neighbour's lawn and thought that their grass does look greener than your grass. Not only is it greener, but they don't seem to have the problem with the weeds that you do, nor the pot holes etc. I know that I have.

Let's take it a bit farther...sometimes we may even look at the lives of others and think that they have it much better than we do. They don't seem to have the financial struggles, or their marriage is better, their kids are well behaved, their vehicles always run perfectly, their house never needs any repairs. You get the idea. Okay, I'm guilty of this too.

When we begin thinking this way we need to realize that this is satan tempting us into being ungrateful. God has bestowed many blessings upon us.

We need to keep in mind that better isn't always the best. Neither is worse always the worst.

Today's verses about Abram and Sarai are an excellent reminder of this. I needed this reminder when I read through it the other day but more than that, I sometimes need this reminder on a daily basis.

Genesis 13: 1- 9

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everyting he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 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. And quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your hedsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left."

In these verses, Abram realizes that he and Lot do need to separate so that all of their livestock can benefit fully from the land. The separation will also prevent further disagreements between their "tented households." He graciously allows Lot the first choice. As is often the case, when we are allowed the first choice, we look at everything very carefully and will choose the best for ourselves. This is exactly what Lot does.

Genesis 13: 10-13
Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the graden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company; Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

Lot chose the land that looked lush and green. He chose what appeared to be the better of the two choices but it wasn't the best. He decided to live in an area where the grass was green but the people didn't honour the LORD.

This is a clear warning to us. Better isn't always the best because it could be from satan, not from God. Better could be a job where you just name your salary, the most expensive house on the street or the most costly vehicle on the dealer's lot. If our eyes are so busy focusing on the material objects then our heart is also there. We're laying up our treasures in the world rather than with God. How would a high salary, a pricy house or car help us to serve God better? How would any of this help us to share His love with others?

God demonstrates His grace to Abram and to us in these next few verses.

Genesis 13:14-18

The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.

Isn't this just like God. He blesses us by giving us room for improvement, time to rely on Him to provide. He grants to us a project that is a work in progress. He blesses us with a barren weed filled land, a fixer upper and yet all that we have is a demonstration of His grace and His glory. Only God can take the unseemingly, insignificant and mold it into His work of art and beauty.

When God awards us with the most unlikely material object we can't help but to give Him the credit for it becoming beautiful because we know what it looked like at first. This is also what God does for us. He takes our character, our nature, our imperfections, our ugliness and turns it into beauty. A beauty that will help others to learn to love God and accept to His grace because of what He has done for us.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the road. The better isn't always the best. Neither is worse the worst.



  1. Good perspective, Jenny. We need to be alert for these temptations to ingratitude and self-pity, and to remember it's being with God that's best, not the circumstances outside.