When Sarah was 127 years old, she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. There Abraham mourned and wept for her. Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.” The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.” —Genesis 23:1-6, NLT
The death of Sarah provided the neighbors of Abraham an opportunity to honor him. Over the course of his life, Abraham committed many errors and sins. The honesty of the Bible in not covering up the faults of its heroes never stops impressing the reader who compares it to the scriptures of other religions. Abraham’s owed his successes to the grace of God, not to his merits. Nevertheless, in his old age, Abraham’s neighbors saw him as an honored prince of their people, worthy of confidence and respect.
As a nomad, Abraham lived in many places over the years, but his favorite dwelling place seems to have been Hebron, between the trees of Mamre. He lived there for more than 40 years, having moved to that place when he separated from Lot, before he was 86 years old (Genesis 13:18; 16:16). Although Abraham had offended the Egyptians (Génesis 12) and the Philistines (Genesis 20), he had an excellent reputation among the Hittites that occupied the area of Hebron.
Abraham proved that an imigrant can become an eminence in his or her new home. The same thing occurs in modern times. Henry Kissinger, an immigrant from Germany, became the Secretary of State of the United States. The same happened with Madeline Korbelová Albright, who immigrated from Czechoslovakia. Zbigniew Brzezinski, from Poland, became National Security Advisor. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian, was elected Governor of California. John Shalikashvili, a Soviert Georgian, fought for the United States, achieving the position of President of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In other countries, Golda Mabovitch Meir, Ukrainian, was the Prime Minister of Israel. Carlos Menem, the son of Syrian immigrants, served as President of Argentina. Jaime Escalante, Bolivian, was celebrated as a great mathematics teacher in the USA. Entertainers like Carlos Montalban, Mexican; Ricky Ricardo, Cuban; and Antonio Banderas, Spanish, have earned fame and the affection of millions through their talent. Many other immigratns and children of immigrants have distinguished themselvs through service to their adopted country.
Even if it takes 40 years, you may become an honored prince or princess.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is Presidente 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 @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.