Genesis 13 is one of my favorite chapters because it models how I wish we all could live together in peace.

The short of it is this: Abram,Lot, and their families are dwelling together.  However, both men have become quite wealthy and, therefore, are not able to support themselves and their operations while living on the same piece of real estate.  So the two men decide to split company amicably.  Abram takes the lead and is a model for us, allowingLotto choose first the land on which he wishes to reside.  Abram decides to take whateverLotdoes not want.  It is really quite an honorable thing for the two men to do. 

I always think of three things when I read this passage.  The first is the memorable quote from my favorite biblical scholar, Rodney King: “People, I just want to say…can we all get along?”

In all seriousness now, when I read Genesis 13, I think about how most of us act.  Most of us, from the time we are quite little, try to acquire and keep as much as we can possibly obtain, even if we do not have need for it all.  I see this behavior now in even my 15-month old daughter.  Her latest trick, when someone wants something in her hand, is to hold it back behind her head, as if to say, “Come and get it if you want it…but at your own risk” (she just figured out biting keeps her older brother away, too!).  Unfortunately, as we grow older, the attitude doesn’t necessarily change that much; the behavior sometimes changes to become more socially acceptable, but most of us are still pretty interested in acquiring more and keeping it from others.  In fact, our economic system is largely based on this primitive thinking being a (or, perhaps, THE) key motivating factor in how we behave. 

The final thing I think about is how many people in history have died terrible and premature deaths because we so often act contrary to the way Abram andLotbehave in Genesis 13.  I like watching shows on History Channel, but so frequently I am reminded that literally thousands upon thousands of people have died, thousands of spouses have been widowed, and countless children have been orphaned simply because someone wanted more real estate than they really needed to survive and thrive.

I wish to make an effort to be more like Abram in this story, to be satisfied with what I have been given, and to be able to live peaceably with others.