In professional racing, the winner’s possibilities of winning largely depend on how good his pit crew is. If the racer is going to win, he needs to be on that track, and that means that his team needs to make competent changes fast.
When we make mistakes, and we acknowledge those mistakes, how we go forward is crucial to our spiritual growth. The attitude we embrace makes all the difference. It is not easy to espouse the right mindset when you feel a sense of failure. Abram left Egypt disappointed in his behavior with Pharaoh, but he determined to do the right thing in the future. When Abram returned to the Negev, he went straight to Bethel. Abram wanted to do things right this time, so he returned to the altar where he first called on the name of the Lord. Abram had the best pit crew because he had God willing to help him change, and so do we.
When Abram when to Egypt, it was because he was facing the test of need, now in his conflict with Lot, he is facing the test of prosperity (Gen 13:1-18). Lot’s herdsmen were fighting with Abram’s herdsmen. There weren’t enough resources to feed all the animals in one place. They needed to separate, but how would they do that? Lot should have acknowledged his debt to his uncle and asked Abram to choose first, but that was not Lot. This is what 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” (Gen 13:8-9). What a change from the fearful, self-seeking Abram that we saw in Egypt. Abram had tried to manage a problem on his own without consulting with God, and it was a complete disaster. Now he trusted God, and God helped him assume a magnanimous attitude. The less we are consumed with our own gain, the less we are worried about being first, and the more energy we have left to enjoy our family and our life that God gives us.
The text tells us about Lot’s choice: “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered…So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east” (Gen 13:10-13). What a difference between the two men. One was magnanimous and generous, and the other was self-indulgent and self-serving. Lot’s choice would bring severe consequences to himself and his family.
When we lived in Puerto Rico, I developed their style of driving, which is survival of the fittest. One day when Marilyn and I went to the grocery store, we were looking for a parking space—an everyday practice. Suddenly, a space appeared; then I noticed there was another car wanting the same space, but I was faster. Too bad, better luck next time was my attitude. Marilyn said, “I hate it when you do that.” We went into the store and did our shopping; then on one isle, my eyes met the eyes of the woman that I had defrauded of her parking space. The Holy Spirit convicted me of that at that moment. I was scrambling for my rights and cutting in before others. It was no way for me to be living, so I asked God to help me, and he has.