basically, we should be living kingdom lives, not earthly lives
All I was really trying to say is that, as Kingdom people, we make choices (and therefore base our lives), on Kingdom values and not earthly values.
In this passage (Genesis 13:5-18), Abram is contrasted to his nephew Lot. Abram, in giving up his rightful privileges as the patriatch, allows Lot to choose first. In essence, he gives up the opportunity to choose the “best” land (i.e. the fertile plain of the Jordan). Lot on the other hand is only concerned with what choice will give him the most immediate benefit. In choosing the plain of the Jordan, Lot is placing priority on which land will net for him the most reward (crops, flocks, etc.). It is significant that this choice is equated with choosing Sodom (and we all remember what happens to Sodom, right?).
(Incidentally, if Abram had ended up with this same land, would God have not blessed him? I don’t think so. The point is that, by giving up his rightful choice, Abram is in essence trusting God for what he will receive, rather than trusting in his own wisdom.)
The other thing I was trying to say is this: How often do we as Christians make (even “Christian” decisions) according to worldly values and not Kingdom ones. When was the last time you chose to go to a Worship Service or a Prayer Meeting based on “how much [I] get out of it”? Have you ever chose to not invite a particular person to dinner or to a small group because they “always manage to say the awkward things”? Have you ever made a choice based on what is easier or what is more comfortable (”after all, it’s not wrong“) instead of choosing what is right and what is better (even if it is harder)?
As Christians, we are not called to make choices simply based on what is not wrong. We are not called to simply do the bare minimum. We are called to seek God, to demonstrate Kingdom values, in everything we do. Imagine what kind of a kingdom it would be if we only loved those that were easy to love. Imagine what kind of a kingdom it would be if we only did what we absolutely had to do. Imagine what kind of a kingdom it would be if everybody was only doing what what was not wrong instead of doing what was best.
I’m glad that Jesus doesn’t love like that. Jesus, even as the holy of holies, radically loved the unlovable. The ones that everybody wanted to avoid, He Loved! You could never imagine Jesus saying, “It’s not that bad…after all, who’s it hurting?” Jesus said, “Leave everything you have and follow me”, not “well, if it’s not too much trouble…” or “…if you can spare it…”
In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning tells a story of a man whose entire perspective of God is changed by hearing a powerful sermon about God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
“When I look at that God, the God of Abraham, I feel like I’m near a real God, not the sort of dignified, businesslike, Rotary Club God we chatter about here on Sunday mornings. Abraham’s God could blow a man to bits, give and then take a child, ask for everything from a person, and then want more I want to know that God.”
What kind of people do we want to be? Do we want to be a community of people that do only the bare minimum? Who each insist on maintaining our privileges? Who make decisions based on how much we will have to give into it or how much we will get out of it? Or will we be a people who are willing to give up our rights, to be uncomfortable for the sake of our brothers and sisters, who are willing to love radically in humility and faith, trusting that God will indeed fulfill all of our needs? The choices each one of us make each day will determine what kind of community we will be tomorrow.