Missed OpportunitiesOctober 8, 2013 - 5:00 am
“So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.”—Genesis 13:11–12
The Torah portion for this week, Lech Lecha, which means “go to yourself,” is from Genesis 12:1–17:27, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 40:27–41:16.
In 1962, Mike Smith was looking for talent. He travelled to Liverpool to listen to a new band and he was very impressed. The band had unmistakable talent, so he brought them to the London office of Decca Records for an audition. The band played 15 songs and then went home to wait for an answer. When Decca Records got back to them they were told: “Guitar groups are on the way out,” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.”
Talk about missed opportunities!
The story of Lot, the nephew of Abram (Abraham, as he was later called by God), which we read about in this week’s Torah portion, could be titled, “Missed Opportunities.” We don’t take much notice of this individual who appears and disappears from the Bible rather quickly; however, Lot could have been one of the most important characters to ever appear on the stage of history. With better judgment, Lot could have been one of the greatest men to ever live.
As the closest person to a son, Lot was poised to be Abram’s greatest disciple. But one day, Lot’s shepherds and Abram’s shepherds had a disagreement. The Sages explain that Abram’s shepherds, by Abram’s orders, insisted that all cattle travel muzzled since Abram was scrupulous about not taking what was not his – and that included his cattle not eating from anyone else’s pasture. Lot reasoned that since the land was promised to Abram anyway, it didn’t matter if the cattle took from it now. Abram suggested that they agree to disagree and part ways.
At that point, Lot could have changed or begged Abram to stay and find a compromise. Instead, he set his eyes on the lush lands of Sodom and chose to leave Abram behind. The last thing we learn about Lot is that he fathered two children. Those children become the fathers of two nations — Amon and Moab — nations who would become arch-enemies of Israel.
Who might Lot have been had he chosen to stay by Abram’s side? What might he have accomplished? How would he have been remembered? The world will never know.
Friends, it’s a scary thought, but sometimes there are no second chances. While there is no way to predict the future, and certainly no way to know which business opportunities are worth taking and which should be passed up, we can make good choices when it comes to the business of life. One good way to navigate the forks in the road on life’s path is to ask ourselves this question: “Which opportunity will bring me closer to God?” When you have the opportunity to take a path that will lead you closer to God, don’t miss the chance – take it.