The late great Yogi Berra famously said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
The not-so-subtle point of Yogi’s saying was that we sometimes overthink our decision. Sometimes when just need to make a choice and stick with it.
Unfortunately, making the wrong choice can get us in trouble. And the more trouble it causes, the harder it is to turn back.
Abraham and Lot
Amongst the most searing biblical illustration of this truth is Lot. In Genesis 13, he and his uncle Abraham come to a fork in the road. They have decided to go their separate ways.
Lot chooses to go toward the land of Sodom. It promises comfort and riches. Abraham goes the opposite way. We know what then happens.
Abraham has to rescue Lot and his family when God decides to destroy Sodom on accounts of its wickedness and immorality.
Does Greed Lead to Happiness?
What made Lot choose to go to Sodom? Was he simply greedy? Was he unaware of its immorality and destructive culture, or did he simply not care?
Perhaps Lot suffered from what sometimes afflicts all of us. The grass always looks greener on the other side.
Sodom was like the new job with a higher salary and bigger office…except we are not sure about the culture of the company. Sodom was like the bigger fancier house…except we would be using up most of our savings to get it.
“All the rivers empty into the sea,” says the Book of Ecclesiastes, “but the sea is never full.” Our desires are not fully satisfied.
Mastering Our Emotions
The challenge, however, is not eliminate our desires. It is to master them. That is the path of Abraham. Abraham always controls his desires, even when such control borders on the extreme. He controls his desire to reach out and protect his son when God calls upon him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain.
He controls his desire to let the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah perish instantly so that he can ensure they receive a just hearing before God.
No one—not even our biblical heroes—are free from desire. What they can teach us, however, is how to master them.
Lot let his desire master him. By following God’s ways, Abraham learned to master them.