By Kevin Stoda in Germany What does the life of a Genesis character named Lot have to teach us today? I.e. in the midst of the world's greatest financial crisis in over 6 decades?
A Scottish minister recently retold his audience the story of Lot, a minor character in Genesis. This distant ancestor of Adam Smith related this biblical footnote in a new way--that is, in a way which really hits home to us (1) victims of the international gambling industry and to us (2) victims of 4 decades of global financial malfeasance.
This particular Scottish minister pointed out that the supposedly minor character, Lot--with all his human frailties and occasional financial, spiritual, and political misfortune--resembles many of us smaller and larger investors and gamblers around the globe today.
First, the preacher noted that in Genesis 11 and 12, we find that Lot is born well-to-do fairly and is born a nephew in Abraham's ever-growing family.. Lot is soon treated as an orphaned nephew of Abraham after the death of both his elders.
At first, financially Lot does well with his inheritance and works diligently raising a great number of lambs. Lot, along with his Uncle Abraham, eventually manages to build up a tremendous herd of sheep.
Alas, these two shepherds both become so successful that there develops an over-competitiveness. This competiveness was mirrored in their laborers who seemed to be at each others throats.
Soon, in order to stop fights from breaking out amongst Lot's and Abraham's shepherds, the two men chose to split their herds and go in separate ways.
This separation amongst the members of Abrahamic family business is reported in Genesis 13, whereby it is also noted that Lot had apparently chosen to take over the easier to graze and wide-open green pastureland of the valleys, where Sodom and Gomorrah were the main cities. This left the aging Abraham to try his hand at grazing the sheep in the difficult hill country to the west and to the north.
In the Scottish minister's retelling of this Genesis tale, it was noted that at first Lot appears to have been a shrewd herder of his sheep. Moreover, Lot apparently had already gotten wind of what kind of businesses were being run in the two infamous cities, Sodom and Gomorrah.
Therefore, Lot camped away from these towns and often initially sought to bypass them in his regular journeys across the plains of the Jordan Valley. However, over time the businesses and lifestyle of those in Sodom and Gomorrah began to attract the businessman Lot.
Later, in Genesis 14 we find that when Lot was camping particularly close to the city of Sodom, Lot, his family, animals, and his tribesman were attacked and kidnapped.
At this point Abraham rescued Lot and his family's resources in a small war with the kings of Shinar, Goiim, and Kedorlaomar. It is reported in Genesis 14 that Lot received all of his property, women and children back as Abraham saved him from his captors.
SIN CITY KEPT PULLING LOT BACK
Despite this unfortunate kidnapping, Lot continued to be attracted again to the lives and businesses--as well as to the lights of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Immediately as a gambler I saw the connection of the pull that these two cities had on a formerly sound working rancher and businessman. Much as we gamblers are attracted to and addicted to betting and casinos, or to fancy financial instruments, and to easy money investment schemes--Lot appears to have become once again entranced by the glittering and sinful life of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.