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Envy

May 18, 2007

This weekend I am singing at a marriage conference at Good Shepherd. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to sing with him and another gal and help facilitate worship during the conference. We had our practice this week…and both of the singers are VERY talented, and 4 times the singer I am.

The nice Christian way of putting this would be to say how “humbling” this was. The more authentic way of saying it would be that I struggled with being envious. Envious of their gifts. Ever been there?

Envy is an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."[1] At the core of envy seems to be an upward social comparison that threatens a person’s self-esteem:

Yippee. Thank you Wikipedia, you’ve been quite helpful. I am grateful to you for not posting my picture next to your little definition.

There are two passages that immediately come to my mind, that speak to me and encourage me when it comes to dealing with envy. Colossians 3:23: 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

God didn’t call me to be that person, or use that person’s gifts for His glory. He called me to use my gifts with all my heart, for Him, for His glory.

The other passage comes from Matthew 25…the parable of the talents. It’s long..so I’ll paraphrase. If you want to read it starts on verse 14. I can’t choose how talented God made me. I can only choose what I will do with it. Will I complain and be envious that I didn’t receive as much as the next guy? Or will I take what I have been given and use it to bring glory to Him?

God can and does consistently use and multiply the gifts of “less” talented people to bring glory to Himself. I don’t want to bury what He’s given me. I want to use it. What about you? Concerned that you don’t have what it takes in any certain area that you feel passionate about and someone else does? Question: Who gave you the passion? Who has the power to use your passion combined with His resource and strength? Two choices…use what you have and trust God for the rest…or dwell in envy, bury what you do have and become wholly ineffective.

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3 comments

  1. Um…are you talking to me?

    =)


  2. Yeah envy is tough even in ministry. Whenever I hear a youth pastor speak or visit a youth conference I always compare myself and sometimes I think; “Man I am SOOO glad I dont speak that that guy” while other times I find myself saying: “I wish I had their ability to engage the crowd or make everyone laugh”. I think its one of those issues that is in the grey, sometimes its good to compare, find the best in others and strive to live it out in your own life. Obviously there is always a down side, trying to be something that God never intended you to be.


  3. Wouldn’t life be easy if we all just gave respect and honor to others gifts and we had no clue who was better at whatever. Wish I had those blinders on. If only I had the voice of Brian McKnight then people would really like me and give me praise. Some of the most powerful words I’ve heard come from Michael Card. He taught us that we are not our gift. WOW! Do you mean that people can like me even if I can’t carry a tune or impress them with some other talent? Maybe they might even like me for being a child of God.



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