Bigger, better, faster, stronger, cooler, more exciting. These are just some of the things we see that other people have a desire to obtain. Many call it keeping up with the Jones. If your neighbour buys a new car well then we had better buy a new car, they upgrade something in their house, must be time for us to upgrade. Your friend buys the latest phone, you can’t have that and buy a better phone. All these things lead us into debt and jealousy. A place where we just want to be better, instead of just being happy for the person and their success we need to one-up them.
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
Jealousy is not a New Testament concept. It first popped its ugly head up back with the first two recorded offspring of Adam and Eve. Cain and Able were both adept at what they did, one a hunter the other a gatherer. They offered some of their respective hunts to God and God was more pleased with Ables offering than Cain’s. Cain could not control his jealousy and recorded the first murder ever. If only Cain had been happy with his brothers offering, things might have been different. He could have learned from him, Able had given the best of the best. One might assume that Cain had not given of the best, maybe he had added a few pieces of fruit that had already fallen off the tree, being lazy he offered God bruised fruit in hopes that it would not get noticed. His selfish ambition to one-up his brother was his downfall. It might have also been a case of Able seeing his brother about to give a sacrifice, not to be left out decided to give one as well and gathered things in a hurry not to glorify God but to make himself look good.
How are you living your life? Are you content in what God has provided for you or are you always looking at what others have, desiring to upgrade your life so you are living like them? Is your self-ambition overpowering your desire to serve others? Working hard to be seen by others so they take notice of you and shower you with praise? Being recognized for things you do is not a problem, but when we work looking only for the praise it leads to cutting corners and stepping on others in our quest for this recognition. God honours those who work diligently in their jobs, the mission and church that push forward knowing what needs to be done, doing it and not boasting about it. I have heard it said that if all you desire is mans praise for the works you do here on earth then that will be the blessing you receive. God promises to give us crowns for our faithfulness here on earth, I would prefer those then mans praise. Let us not let our jealousy and self-ambition lead us to a road of disorder and evil.
Father, thank you for loving us. If we have been envious of others in our lives I pray for forgiveness. Help me to be satisfied with what I have. Let me take time to pray and be wise in the things I do buy so not to be keeping up with the trends. I want to work to glorify your name, if I have been working for man’s praise, forgive me, I want to work to show my faithfulness to you. Let us be a witness to those around us, working hard and consistently. Give us wisdom and boldness to be a light in the world around us sharing your love with others. Speak to us today. Amen