Serving two Masters
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 4 February 2022
Lot settled in the city of Sodom with its glittering wealth and began to amass a fortune for himself. However, leaving the hills of Canaan, God’s Promised Land, turned out to be a very bad decision, for where there is wealth and riches, there is always someone keen to take it off you. And Lot had only been in Sodom a few years when the city was captured by the armies of a neighbouring Kingdom. Lot and his family were taken prisoner and all his possessions were taken from him.
It was left to his uncle Abram (who was quietly looking after his sheep in the hills) to muster a small force and go and rescue Lot, retrieve Lot’s possessions and liberate all the other people taken captive by the marauding armies.
As the victorious Abram is returning from the battlefield with Lot and his loyal fighting force, he is met by two men, the King of Sodom and Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Both come to make Abram a gift.
Melchizedek is a priest, who has come from the city of Salem – the city that will one day become Jerusalem, the city of David. Melchizedek brings out bread and wine to share (does that remind us of anything?) and he blesses Abram saying, “Blessed be Abram by God most high, Creator of heaven and earth.” Abram accepts the bread and wine and the blessing and in gratitude offers Melchizedek a tenth of all he has.
A little later, the King of Sodom, relieved to see his people rescued from captivity, offers to give Abram all the wealth and goods that his fighting force have taken from the enemy. But this gift Abram refuses. “I will accept nothing for myself,” he says, “but let my men have their share, if that is what they want.”
Abram is a man of God not a man of possessions. He has seen what has become of his nephew Lot, who set the acquisition of wealth above all else and he is not interested. Abram is a wanderer, moving at the inspiration of God. He has seen how possessions can tie you down, cloud your judgment and compromise your integrity. Abram is pleased to accept Melchizedek’s blessing, but he does not want the burden of possessions and wealth.
Jesus once said to his disciples, “No one can be a slave to two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot be a slave to both God and money.”
Abram made his choice – he chose to serve God. Every day we are faced with the same choice. Are we willing to choose the blessing of God over the acquisition of wealth and possessions? Let us take Abram as our inspiration to sit more lightly to the things of this world, so that we can enjoy more fully all that God has to give us.
Song: As the deer pants for the water
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We thank you for all the good things you have given us.
When we are tempted to hoard and clutch our possessions to ourselves
Remind us of the blessings that come when we share
And the joy that we experience when we give things away.
May we, like Abram, sit lightly to the things of this world
And spend our lives seeking your Kingdom.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen