Abraham and Lot Parted: Abraham’s Generosity (Genesis 13:3-18)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
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When Abraham and his family reentered Canaan and came to the region around Bethel, the friction that erupted between the herders of Abraham and those of his nephew Lot posed Abraham with a choice regarding the scarcity of land. A division had to be made, and Abraham took the risk of offering Lot first choice of the real estate. The central ridge of land in Canaan is rocky and does support much vegetation for grazing. Lot’s eye fell to the east and the plain around the Jordan River, which he regarded as “like the garden of the Lord,” so he chose this better portion for himself (Gen. 13:10). Abraham’s trust in God released him from the anxiety of looking out for himself. No matter how Abraham and Lot would prosper in the future, the fact that Abraham let Lot make the choice displayed generosity and established trust between him and Lot.

Generosity is a positive trait in both personal and business relationships. Perhaps nothing establishes trust and good relationships as solidly as generosity. Colleagues, customers, suppliers, even adversaries, respond strongly to generosity and remember it for a long time. When Zacchaeus the tax collector welcomed Jesus into his home and promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to repay fourfold those he had cheated, Jesus called him a “son of Abraham” for his generosity and fruit of repentance (Luke 19:9). Zacchaeus was responding, of course, to the relational generosity of Jesus, who had unexpectedly, and uncharacteristically for the people of that time, opened his heart to a detested tax collector.