The Immigrant and the Abundance Mentality

So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.  Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”—Genesis 13:8-9, NLT

Deported from Egypt, Abram and his nephew Lot prospered anew in Canaan.  Nevertheless, their “companies” soon began to compete instead of sharing the land. As a noble man, Abram offered his kinsman the first choice of the lands, promising to move in order to keep the peace between them.

Note well the mentality that Abram had—an abundance mentality.  He asked Lot, “Is not the whole land before you?”  Abram knew there was enough space, enough water, enough fodder for the animals, enough food for himself and his family.   And if not, he knew he would receive enough grace and favor from God to supply all of his needs and even his dreams.  Whether Abram went to the right or the left, God would go with him.

Lot did not see the world that way.  And as we will see later, he transmitted a grim worldview to his family.   He grabbed for himself the land that guaranteed the most space, water, fodder, and food, where there were already cities established, a more convenient life.  In his scarcity mentality Lot wanted to guarantee for himself what his eyes could see, what required no exercise of his faith.  He did not want to share with his uncle, taking advantage of his nobility to satisfy his own greed.

The different fates of the two men and their families are stunning.  Lot grabbed at a lot and grasped only a little.[1]  Abram grabbed nothing for himself, leaving his hands open to receive the blessing promised by  God.  Immigrants who have nothing when they enter a new land can adopt a scarcity mentality and grab at a lot, grasping little.  Or they can trust God and the Promise, living to serve God and neighbor—or as an old proverb in Spanish could be roughly translated, “busting the sod and trusting in God.”  Those who trust in God and take the high road of the abundance mentality will find prosperity, even in the driest and weariest lands.

[1] (In Spanish, an old proverb says, “He who grabs a lot, grasps only a little.”) 

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.;

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at


Acerca de Joseph Castleberry

A missionary to Latin America for 20 years, I currently serve as president of Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. I am the author of Your Deepest Dream (NavPress, 2012); The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (Influence Resources, 2013), and The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America's Faith and Values.
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