The Gospel

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Jesus uttered this terse warning while teaching on his second coming (LK 17.32).

Lot and his family lived in prosperous Sodom. Lot’s wife loved her home. Her husband had done well for himself. His flocks and possessions had grown so great that he and his uncle Abraham had to part ways. He’d picked the choicest land when his uncle gave him the option. Foolish Abraham, Lot’s wife often mused, how often had he regretted giving her husband first choice?

Sodom’s rampant sexual immorality bothered them, but they could take refuge in their beautiful home and many possessions.

Then one night Lot brought strangers home, and trouble came with them. The men of the town pounded on the door, with shouts and catcalls, demanding that Lot give the strangers to them. When Lot stepped out to try to reason with them, they almost tore him apart pushing to get in, until the strangers smote them with blindness.

Lot’s wife hoped the unusual guests would leave the next morning. Instead, when dawn broke they told the family they needed to flee, for they were about to unleash mass destruction on the city. Then they grabbed her and Lot and their two daughters and dragged them to the city’s outskirts. They’d had no time to pack, no time to gather up precious heirlooms and family treasures.

“Run for your lives,” urged the strangers. “Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, or you’ll be swept away.”

They ran gasping, stumbling, staggering. The sound of destruction crashing from the sky, so close behind they could feel the heat and wind generated from the fire cascading from the sky. Thunderous noise, explosions and screams filled the air.

“My home! My jewels! All we’ve worked for and struggled to gain all these years! Lot! I’m going back. I think I can still save some things.”

Lot shouted above the noise to keep running, but his wife slowed down. “There’s still time,” she said, slowly turning, as a massive wall of smoke and ash engulfed her.

Days later, Lot picked his way among the miles of charred and smoldering landscape. Stinking carnage, everything covered with ash. Burned carcasses, human and animal, barely recognizable. The acrid air almost unbreathable. Then he saw her.

A statue of salt. Her arm reaching toward Sodom, her face fixed in a permanent scream.

Remember Lot’s wife.

Remember her love of the world, her attachment to things. Her failure to wholeheartedly follow the Lord. These things cost her her life.

Jesus is returning. Invest yourself in heaven. Give your life away serving others. Give to the kingdom and the poor. Follow Jesus with all your heart, and you’ll be ready when he comes.

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