Monday, August 31, 2009


I had set a terrible precedent for my children. From their earliest memory, they had two wardrobes – summer and winter – one hanging in the closet and one boxed in storage. It wasn’t because I bought them so many clothes. It was because we were blessed with truckloads of hand-me-downs. Our daughters had six generous girl cousins, and we were a pastor’s family in gracious churches. However, these great blessings caused immense closet constipation. So in their teen years, we instituted the “buy one, bury one” rule. For each new piece of clothing that was hung in the closet or laid in a drawer, one piece of clothing was withdrawn, pitched, dumped, scrapped. I thought this little arrangement was working well until our oldest daughter recently moved into an apartment of her own. Trina had been living with us for a little over a year, maintaining most of her wardrobe in her own room, but spilling some clothes into her sister’s closet, while Emily was at college. When Trina moved into her cute, little apartment, she had one closet. One closet. She stuffed her dresser drawers full and then hung the remaining shirts and dresses in her single closet. “Smashed” doesn’t begin to describe it. “Smooshed” can’t portray the sight. Three months later, Trina called in a panic. Her closet rod had plummeted to the floor, leaving her clothes in a pile, and the landlord refused to pay for the repair. Why? Yep. Too much weight on a rod held by only one brace. Her dad became Mrs. Fix-it, using five sturdy braces to hold the clothes rod. He left a bill on her counter - pictured above - and gave this advice, “Sometimes you’ve got to give up to get more….” Sounds like something God would tell Abram.

Gen. 13:1-4 – “So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything 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.”

  • Two things tell us Abram was restless/troubled: 1) He returned to a place of spiritual significance from his past; and 2) He called on the name of the LORD. Both are excellent paths toward a peaceful spirit.

Gen. 13:5-9 – “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 herdsmen 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.’”

  • Don’t miss the difficulty of this situation. Lot was the only blood relative still in Abram’s household (besides Sarai), his only living heir at this point. Yes, God had promised children, but where were they? And in this culture, to divide your wealth means dividing your strength and protection against invasion. This is a step of faith not only in God protecting relationship but in God protecting life and property.

Gen. 13:10-13 – “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden 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 best land but the worst influence on his soul. In giving up the outward splendor, Abram guarded his inner holiness. However, Abram was still restless, moving from place to place in the land of Canaan. Doing the right thing doesn’t always bring instant peace.

Gen. 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.” (emphasis added)

  • After the arguing shepherds were divided, after Lot took his bleating sheep and spitting camels to Sodom, FINALLY, the LORD’s voice echoed in the silence. Abram had waited a long time to hear it. He’d traveled a lot of miles, experienced a lot of conflict, and given up his nephew, Lot. That’s a lot of “lots.” Was it worth it? Look at the promise: Land in every direction, children more numerous than dust. And now Abram’s caravan has room for him to get off his camel and WALK through his Land!

Lord, I’ve been told many times that I can’t “out-give” You, that You never ask me to give up something without returning blessings tenfold – or even one hundred-fold. So why do I clutch so tightly to people, when it’s time to say good-bye? Why do I hold onto possessions, when I should let go of old treasures? Teach me the value of letting go in order to allow space for You to give more.


Nancy said...

Wow, were you writing that for me? Letting go of stuff & "home" and people is what we're dealing with now, moving 10 hrs drive away soon! I'll have to keep re-reading this one. Thanks, Mesu!

Mesu Andrews said...

I think I need to keep re-reading it, too, Nancy! It seems the "letting go" never ends.... I'm thankful God's resources to give back never run dry.

Denise said...

This is definitely a re-reader (if that is even a word). I like when you said that doing the right thing doesn’t always bring instant peace. This is a very good thing to keep in the forefront of our minds in this instant world. At least I know I need to.