The Story of Us, Pt. 2: Nothing to Lose
The older we get, the harder it is to let go, to live generously. In Genesis 13, Abram was transformed by the generosity of God, and went from selling out his wife to save his skin to offering the best land– his inheritance!– to a relative with whom he was in conflict. Pastor Glenn Packiam calls us to see how we can begin to live like we have nothing to lose.
Listen to the sermon HERE.
OT Reading: Genesis 13:5-11 (ESV)
NT Reading: Romans 8:31-32, 35, 37-39 (CEB)
Gospel Reading: John 10:17-18 (ESV)
STORY: Jane and ‘mine’
How do we live freely and openly, like you have nothing to lose?
Genesis 13:1-4 (ESV)
“So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. 2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.”
After his sin of fear and deception and endangering his wife, Abraham returned to the Lord, to where it all began.
“ ‘ 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first…’ ” Revelation 2:4-5a (ESV)
Genesis 12:7-8 (ESV)
“Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.”
When everything is the Lord’s, nothing is really yours.
- A. W. Tozer: ‘The blessedness of possessing nothing’; having all things, possessing nothing
- Not a renter, or an owner—but a steward!
Genesis 13:5-7 (ESV)
“And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, 7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.”
Genesis 13:8-11 (ESV)
“Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’ 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.”
When nothing is really yours, you have nothing to lose.
- Ignatian ‘indifference’ to anything except the will of God—desire only what is ‘most conducive to the end for which we were created’ (‘First Principle’)
Genesis 13:14-17 (ESV)
“The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’ ”
- Both Abraham and Lot are offered land; both walk around and look;
- One had an inheritance that will be destroyed, the other has one that is assured.
- The difference? One is offered by man, the other is offered by God.
- Who is your source?
God’s radical generosity transforms us.
- Grace is an undeserved gift.
- Everything is God’s; everything He has is ours (NT Reading)
- When our lives have been changed by the radical nature of ‘gift’, we give to others.
- IMAGINE: How would generosity transform your marriage…work…friendships
Come back to the altar…
- Genesis 13 begins and ends with an altar
- Come to the altar, not just to offer yourself…but to see that God has already given you everything