Wednesday, September 9, 2015
I may be biased because I love them so much but, to me, when God made dogs, He made the perfect pet for mankind. They are loving, faithful, and trusting, want to be close to their owners at all times, and one little hug or pat from them fills them with joy and happiness. Sometimes I wonder why humans can’t be as noble as they. Nevertheless, they almost all have one bad characteristic which many humans have as well. Namely, they don’t want any other dog getting the attention they feel belongs to them only. We can call it envy, greed, jealousy, selfishness, or something else but when it appears in people’s lives it is not a good thing and can hurt many people along the way. In fact, the first murder ever recorded in the Bible came because of someone’s envy or jealousy. The Lord, knowing that Cain was angry because his brother Abel’s offering was accepted and not his, told him before the fact: “But if you don’t do what is right, sin is crouching at you door.” (Gen. 4:7) That warning went unheeded and his innocent brother paid the price.
Many centuries have passed since this tragic incident, yet people continue to struggle with envy, jealousy, and greed. Sadly, I have seen it in church people as well and when pastors, teachers, singers, musicians or other church staff have it, most people will eventually detect it. Like all of you, all church leaders have their flaws and that includes me. Nevertheless, I can honestly say that envy and jealousy are not among them. I see my fellow pastors as associates, not as my competition. Would it sting a little if some member accidentally let it be known that they like their preaching and teaching better than mine? Perhaps at the onset because I’m human, but by God’s grace I would quickly brush that thought aside. I would immediately realize that their presence and participation is exactly what the church needs, including me. I know some capable and faithful people who have left their church because they were never given the chance to participate in their specialized ministry. Why? Someone there was not willing to share the spotlight, so to speak.
If you struggle with jealousy and envy and there is someone in your life who happens to be in competition with you for the attention of someone you love, and that includes the Lord, ask God to help you with it before people get hurt along the way. The love of God resides in His children and among it’s characteristics are that it does not envy and is not rude and self-seeking. (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-5) As much as I love our dogs, they will always continue wanting all the attention for themselves. With God’s children, on the other hand, there is hope and the Lord can help us free ourselves from hurtful habits.
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 13:4) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”