Abraham and the Big Piece of Cake
We have all been in the position when someone offered us a tray of goodies. We look down at all the cakes and slices and notice one that is slightly larger than the rest and that is the one we want.
Now we all know that well mannered people such as you (no doubt) and myself would not dare to take the largest piece because of what others would think of us. However if we are honest with ourselves, inside our hearts that is what we want. Children on the other hand have no qualms at taking the biggest piece of cake, because its ":First in first served" or so the saying goes.
It reminds me of when two of my siblings were arguing over the last piece of caramel tart left on the table, each convinced it was theirs, when a third sibling of mine who was younger and more opportunistic just came along and ate it.
We often put ourselves first, and even if our actions don't show it, our desires are certainly oriented that way.
In the scriptures, Abraham was in a similar position and had an issue with his nephew Lot. Their shepherds had been fighting over pasture and there was not enough grass to feed both of their herds, so they had to separate. It was a case of who would get the best area and who would get the the leftovers.
Together they stood on top of a hill looking over the valley below. In the distance, Lot could see the well watered plains near Sodom and Gomorrah and decided that was what he wanted. I'm sure Abraham would have liked the area for his herds too. However Abraham was gracious and placed his nephew first giving his first selection. Lot of course chose the best part, the green valleys below. Abraham was relegated to the leftovers - which was the place he was staying at already.
So they separated. Lot went off to the "good life." However the good life turned around and "bit him on the butt," when Sodom and Gomorrah damaged his soul, took his wife, and he lost everything in one day except his life and his two daughters.
Abraham stayed where he was and an amazing thing happened. God appeared to Him and comforted him with these words. "I am your shield and great reward." God said many other things at the same time but was encouraging him by telling him that He would protect him and that He was His reward.
I have often thought about my reward not being money, property or good times, but instead being Christ. I'm still getting my head around it, but I know that God is ultimately permanent, stable, precious, powerful and close. He IS a reward to those who seek Him.
Abraham was a man of faith, and a man who put others first... and God became real to him.