Some people are very good at identifying opportunity. They are capitalists. They can see an environment where they can thrive, a space in the market where no one else is operating, a gap in services they can fill, or a product they can provide.
The first step is identifying that opportunity. The first step is to be able to see it. “And Lot lifted up his eyes” (Genesis 13:8).
When we see the opportunity, we seize it with the knowledge that in doing so we may have found a way to the good life. We may have found the answer to our own need for health and wellness, and physical and financial security.
The stock market had an interesting year – up and then down and then up again. And smart investors were weighing all of this out. The really smart ones stayed in the market throughout the turbulence. And the really, really smart ones threw even more money into the market when it was at its lowest point – knowing eventually things would improve.
They saw an opportunity for gain, and they seized it.
“And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord” (Genesis 13:8).
Lot knew what he was doing. This was good land. It reminded Lot of the garden of the Lord – the Garden of Eden. This was, as we sometimes like to say about Colorado, “God’s country.”
Lot could find success in this place. His herds would have ample grazing and water. If Lot were to plant crops, he was likely to be successful. This was an opportunity to be seized.
And Abram gave Lot the opportunity. A good family man, Abram deferred to his relative when the two parted ways (Ephesians 5:21). He allowed Lot to have his pick of places to live. And Lot opted for the well-watered land that was like the garden of God.
Theologically, we might think of Lot making his own attempt to return to the way of innocence, to move back toward the days when God walked with humanity in the cool of the day and in a land where everything came easy and the stuff of life was to be gathered in abundance. Can we return, on our own, to the Garden of Eden?
In our own seizing of opportunity, we sometimes get the idea that we can solve all of our problems. We try to let the physical things in life, the created things, serve as the conduits to the good life. We might not do this consciously, but the temptation is there.
And resources are finite. The thing we are trying to do in paving our own way to the good life is hard. Others may see the same opportunities we see. Lot would find out that kings sometimes make war over the good land. The world of sin is also a world of competition (Genesis 14:2).
That’s not to say seizing the opportunity is a bad thing. It is only to say we ought to be discerning and to check our own hearts as we see the good land in front of us.
We might think about Abram, who wasn’t particularly choosy about where he settled. He seemed to prefer to wait on God’s promise. And God showed him exactly what was in store for him. Abram went where God called him to go, listening to the promise.
Abram found himself walking with God, at least in a sense, and looking at the fruit of the promise that would come. “Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you” (Genesis 13:17).
Perhaps the promise is even better than what we can see with our own eyes. Perhaps it is better than even than the opportunity that’s right in front of us.