Today, our Sunday School reading included the account of Abram and Lot going separate ways. Abram (who later becomes Abraham), wants to be the peacemaker and as such is willing to give up the better of two options to avoid unnecessary conflict. Genesis records that Abram said to Lot: "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." (Genesis 13:8-9)
Lot definitely chose the land with more abundant water and Abram went to the more rugged and arid part, but more important than the specific plot of land was the direction each was facing. Lot "pitched his tent toward Sodom" (Genesis 13:12), and would later find himself and his family consumed by the dominant culture there while Abram went to Hebron and, facing a totally different direction, "built there an altar unto the Lord" (Genesis 13:18).
While neither Lot nor Abram was free from character defects or mistakes, and while we know obviously very little about the thousands of other decisions that they made along the way, this detail appears to highlight by contrast the directional differences in their lives. And when you abstract out from the immediate moment with even just a tiny bit more of an eternal perspective, it becomes clear that one's direction does matter a lot more than one's current location. The proverb "Decisions determine direction. Direction determines destiny" (which I have found ascribed second-hand as an Amish Proverb but which has been reshared and affirmed here), rings true both back for Abraham and for us today.
How do you orient yourself each day, each week? It certainly does matter a lot in the long run.
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Cover image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arab_camp_near_Biskra.jpg