Friday, November 12, 2010

The Danger of Success

This fall I’m revisiting the life of Abram, God's friend. Today I am struck by the way Abram handled success.

Abram's nephew Lot, his family, and his possessions were taken hostage by a five-king army after it defeated a four-king alliance. Abram, well past seventy-five, called his allies and led out his three hundred eighteen trained men. They pursued the army over one hundred fifty miles before defeating it and recapturing all the people and possessions. When Abram returned home captain of a huge host, the king of Sodom and the king of Salem came out to meet him in the King’s Valley.

The king of Sodom deferred to Melchizedek, king of Salem. Melchizedek brought wine, bread, and a blessing on “Abram of God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and earth,” and on “God Most High, who...delivered your enemies into your hand” (Genesis 14:19-20, NASB). Abram responded with a gift--a tenth of all.

The king of Sodom stepped forward. He wanted only the people in exchange for the goods. Abram refused, having sworn to the LORD, God Most High, not to take even a thread that is the king’s for fear of the king’s taking credit for making Abram rich. He returned the people and accepted the share due his men but took nothing for himself.

What to learn?

Expect conflict and train for it.

Ally with likeminded, loyal people.

Dare to risk.

Persevere. Conflict requires time, energy, and enduring faith.

Predecide how to handle success.

Handling success intrigues me today. Did Abram compare facing the two kings with attacking the five-king consortium? Was the homecoming harder?

It's tempting to take quietly what isn't ours--whether credit, admiration, or honor. God Most High, who won the day, increase our faith to pass the insidious test of success.

1 comment:

  1. LOL, I don't think of that as a test to pass! But you're so right.