Friday, March 15          Genesis 14:17-24   Rev. Rachel Heyduck

17 After Abram returned from his attack on Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom came out to the Shaveh Valley (that is, the King’s Valley) to meet him. 18 Now Melchizedek the king of Salem and the priest of El Elyon had brought bread and wine, 19 and he blessed him, “Bless Abram by El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth; 20 bless El Elyon, who gave you the victory over your enemies.” Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the property for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I promised the Lord, El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I wouldn’t take even a thread or a sandal strap from anything that was yours so that you couldn’t say, ‘I’m the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 The only exception is that the young men may keep whatever they have taken to eat, and the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—may keep their share.”

In today’s scripture, Abram is victorious! He gives all the credit to God, the king would like to reward him, and Abram said no. Abram promised God that he would not take anything from the king so that the king could never claim that he was the reason for Abram’s wealth. Abram demonstrated such integrity (well, at least at this point in his story, other times maybe not so much).

The temptation to take wealth over a promise you made with God is so very high. Wealth has a way of messing with our heads. It is not to say that is bad or evil, we just have to be extra careful as the temptation for more, or for the credit of it being ours is so very great.

Repeatedly we have seen research studies that have looked at the influence of incentives and money, and whether parties can be genuinely neutral when money is involved. I am sure that there are people out there that claim not to be swayed by money. These people claim that the prospect of money does not interfere with their decision-making process, but I don’t know any of these people, and I would question their humanity. We are human; we see that money, and other incentives can be a strong motivation.

We also want to be people of faith with integrity like Abram. The best way to do this is to set ourselves up in situations that take out the temptation. We must set ourselves up for success, not rely on our will power alone. Our world is full of temptation, but we worship a God that loves us and does not tempt us. The Bible reminds us that we are created to glorify God and God alone, that God thinks we are good, very good. God is so very generous to us, may we respond to God with the same spirit. May we all find ways to set ourselves and others up for success!

Prayer: God, we thank you for your generous nature. We know that you have plans for good and full lives. Help us to be willing to respond to you with generosity. And help us to create environments that set us all up for success.