Peaceful Maneuvers

A few years ago, we took the youth group on a float trip down the Illinois River. Many of the kids had never been river rafting. They learned that there were many obstacles to overcome, such as trees that can knock you into the water or rocks that can flip your raft. It took awhile for some to learn how to maneuver their rafts. If everyone paddled on the same side, the raft would just spin in a circle. Sometimes one youth would be forced to do all the work because their partners selfishly did nothing. Most of them discovered the importance of team work. Those who learned to work together found it much easier to avoid obstacles than those whose partners were selfish.

Like paddling a boat, relationships often encounter obstacles. In Genesis 13, Abram and his family were relocating to Canaan. As they were traveling, there was conflict between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot because there was not enough grass and water for all of the livestock. When Abram learned of the dispute, he quickly took action to resolve the conflict. He was willing to compromise to preserve his relationship with Lot. Abram had faith that God would take care of him, so he generously allowed Lot to choose the land he preferred and took what remained. Lot was selfish and chose the land with the best water source and lush, fertile ground. The disagreement between their herdsmen could have resulted in a broken relationship, but instead Abram was willing to compromise in order to maintain peace and handled a difficult situation with a godly attitude.

There are many obstacles in life. Like rafting, everything goes smoother if everyone works together, but that is not always the case. If each person is determined to get their own way, the relationship will spin in circles repeating more episodes of conflict without getting anywhere. There are also those who selfishly sit back, like Lot, and expect others to make sacrifices in order to keep peace. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The phrase ‘if it is possible’ implies that sometimes, no matter what attempts are made, it will not be possible to live at peace.

Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Humbly considering others before ourselves helps to generate harmony in relationships. Abram demonstrated the type of humble attitude God desires from us. He trusted God in the situation and was blessed despite Lot claiming what appeared to be the best land.

Like the obstacles faced on the youth rafting trip, we can be selfish while others do all the work; we can be the one who unselfishly works harder; or we can learn to work together. Which person are you? What can you do differently to live at peace with everyone?

Sometimes keeping peace means more rowing, or compromise, on our part. Unfortunately, there may be times when peace can not be achieved, but we need to strive to do everything possible before giving up. Generosity and sacrifice will often create peace as we maneuver through life trying to avoid conflict in relationships.

8 thoughts on “Peaceful Maneuvers

  1. Another excellent post Tresa. It can be difficult sometimes, to push forward and strive for unity when there are others who either work against you or just coast along. Thankfully, God provides the strength and fortitude we need when we call on Him, to do His work.

    Have a Blessed Day!

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  2. Great Devotional! Sometimes it’s hard to keep a loving attitude while sacrificing for the sake of keeping peace. Abram never held it against Lot for his choice of the best land, but oh how often we do. We have to be willing to “lose” in the eye’s of the world to keep from rowing in circles. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. So true Brandon! If we are to have a Christ-like attitude, we must forget about who’s right or wrong. Not an easy thing to do when our society is all about “having it your way”. Sacrificing to keep peace does appear to the world that we are losing a battle without even putting up a fight. What would Jesus do is the question we need to ask ourselves. So glad you stopped by!

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  3. Tresa,
    This was another example of a great devotional. I think God intended that His church work together to be most effective. He sent his diciples out two by two.

    I’ve seen demonstrations of how a few people can do the work and others jump in and tell them how it shoulda’ been done! That tends to rattle my cage! If anything is done to further God’s work, it is He alone who should get all the glory!

    You’ve given me food for thought…..keep ’em coming my Sister! Love ya!

    Barbra

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    1. Thanks Barbra. You’re right! Sometimes when we serve in the church we do have our own agenda rather than keeping our focus on Him. But we’re human and often lose sight of that. Thanks for reading!

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  4. Hi Tresa – I so needed to hear this today. I am feeling like my boundaries have been trodden on and I want to say so but I believe by remaining quiet, humbling myself and considering this person better than myself and serving, God will open their eyes to their own selfishness.
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. I understand what you’re saying, Tracy. Sometimes its very difficult to keep turning the other cheek or keep opening ourselves up to heartache. Psalms 37:5 says, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” We can trust that no matter how difficult the conflict, God will see us through it!

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