Genesis 18:16-33

From Mamre the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to show them the way. Now the Lord had wondered, “Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do, seeing that Abraham will become a great nation with all the nations of the earth blessing themselves by him? For I have singled him out to command his sons and his household after him to maintain the way of the Lord by just and upright living. In this way the Lord will carry out for Abraham what he has promised him.” Then the Lord said, “How great an outcry there is against Sodom and Gomorrah! How grievous is their sin! I propose to go down and see whether or not they have done all that is alleged in the outcry against them that has come up to me. I am determined to know.”

The men left there and went to Sodom while Abraham remained standing there with the Lord. Approaching him he said, “Are you really going to destroy the just man with the sinner? Perhaps there are fifty just men in the town. Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men in it? Do not think of doing such a thing: to kill the just man with the sinner, treating just and sinner alike! Do not think of it! Will the judge of the whole earth not administer justice?” The Lord replied, “If at Sodom I find fifty just men in the town, I will spare the whole place because of them.”

Abraham replied, “I am bold indeed to speak like this to my Lord, I who am dust and ashes. But perhaps the fifty just men lack five: will you destroy the whole city for five?” “No,” he replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five just men there.” Again Abraham said to him, “Perhaps there will only be forty there.” “I will not do it,” he replied, “for the sake of the forty.”

Abraham said, “I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak: perhaps there will only be thirty there.” “I will not do it,” he replied, “if I find thirty there.” He said, “I am bold indeed to speak like this, but perhaps there will be twenty there.” “I will not destroy it,” he replied, “for the sake of the twenty.” He said, “I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.” “I will not destroy it,” he replied, “for the sake of the ten.”

When he had finished talking to Abraham the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.

Matthew 8:18-22

When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side. One of the scribes then came up and said to him, “Master, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, “Sir, let me go and bury my father first.” But Jesus replied, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury the dead.”

I read in a book somewhere that Abraham stopped too soon. He stopped at ten, but if he had gone down to zero in his request, the Lord would have spared Sodom even if there were no just men there, only sinners. But Abraham isn’t too blame, for he was already shaking in his boots for daring to make such a bold request of the Lord.

Abraham knew his place - dust and ashes - but he dared to make these requests of the Lord based on one thing. Abraham counted on the generosity and love of the Lord. And that is indeed the message for the day - count on the generosity of the Lord.

Some of us like to gamble. We place bets on TOTO or 4-D, and try our luck even though the odds are against us. Today, the Lord presents us with a sure-win gamble. “Try your luck by betting on my generosity and love,” says the Lord. In Jesus words, “If you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it.”

Jesus is, however, also a realist. When the scribe comes up to him declaring that he will follow Jesus wherever he goes, Jesus thanks him but also tells him that in order to follow the Christ, the disciple must be willing to give up all his material comforts. When the other disciple asks to go back and bury his father, who is not yet dead, Jesus tells him to follow, and that everything else will be taken care of.

In essence, as followers of Jesus, we must be prepared to give up all our material comforts, if need be, but everything else that we need to persevere to the end will be provided, if we just count on the love and generosity of the Lord.

We pray for all disciples of Christ, especially those who have left everything to follow Christ, that we may be comforted in times of need by the loving generosity of God to provide all that we need to persevere to the end. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: His love and generosity.

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