We must not be ... jealous of one another. Galatians 5:26 (TEV)
In James 3:16 we read that envy can cause problems. It says “For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil.” (HCSB) It was a couple of weeks ago as Helen Gray was cleaning the church building that she bumped into a case of dueling envy and as she learned, even preachers can fall to its grasp.
As Helen was pushing the dust mop by Randy’s office door she heard him muttering out loud “Why? Why? Why?” Trying to be humorous she answered “Z” “What?” Randy said surprised to see her at his door. “Z comes after Y” Helen explained, “Isn’t that what you were trying to remember?” “No,” Randy told her, “I just want to know why?”
“Why what?” Helen asked as she shook off her mop. “Why JOE’S are always BETTER than MINE!” Randy started to explain getting louder as he went, “We went to the same school, we use the same computer programs, we use the same topics and use the same Bible version. Everything is the same.” and with clenched fists he let out a loud grunt.
“What are you talking about?” Helen asked, “Are you talking about your Bible lessons?” “Close.” Randy replied, “My sermons. His are always better than mine and I’m tired of it.” He continued and than with a loud shout he yelled out, “I want my sermons to be like his!” than calming down a bit he got an evil grin on his face and said, “Maybe I can sneak over to his office and copy his outline.” and than he took off.
“This can’t be good” Helen said as she turned back to her dusting but when she turned, she bumped into the strangest looking character. “Have you seen Randy Smith around?” He asked in a deep voice. It was Bud or at least that’s who Helen thought he was. “He just left” she told him. “Great!” Bud responded, “I need to pay his office a visit while he’s gone.”
“While he’s gone?” Helen questioned “I need to see his sermon notes.” Bud told her. “Why don’t you just come to church on Sunday and hear the sermon for yourself.” Helen told him. “I don’t care about the sermon,” Bud replied, “I’m just here to get a copy of Randy’s sermon notes for Joe.”
“For Joe!” Helen gasped “Yeah” Bud responded, “For Joe. I guess he’s is tired of Randy’s sermons always being better than his. He thinks he can be as good as Randy if he just gets a copy of his sermon notes” “But, but,” stuttered Helen, “But what?” Bud interrupted. “I just do what I’m paid to do. And if anyone asks, I told you nothing and you never saw me.” and with those words Bud snatched up Randy’s sermon notes and ran off.
According to the Oxford dictionary, envy is defined as a discontented or resentful longing aroused by another's possessions, qualities, or luck. Many times in the Bible envy and jealousy are interchanged. Let us look at another of the Seven Deadly Sins - Envy
A little snail that lived by the ocean noticed with envy the big and beautiful shell in which the lobster lived. "Oh! How this little shell of mine pinches," whined the little snail. "What a grand palace the lobster carries on his back! I wish I lived in his place. Oh! Wouldn't my friends admire me in that shell! Think of a snail living in a mansion like that!" In time a wonderful thing occurred. The watching, envious snail beheld the lobster work right out of his shell to grow up in another, larger one. When the empty, metallic green shell of the lobster lay neglected on the beach, the snail said, "Now I shall have my wish. Hurrah! The little snail is going to live in a lobster shell!" In his pride he cried out to the birds overhead, "Ah, the little snail is going to live in a lobster shell." He cried to the cattle in the field, "Oh, oh! Now you shall see. The little snail is going to live in a palace." So the birds and the cattle in the field were curious and they watched the little snail. The snail pulled himself loose from his own little shell, and cried, "Well, I'm glad to say I'm through with you. Goodbye. You've pinched me and pressed me for the last time. I am going to live in the grand lobster shell." The birds and the animals saw the little snail proudly crawl into the towering lobster shell and he huffed and puffed and blew and gasped in an effort to make himself fit. But with all his efforts he felt very small inside the grand lobster shell. He grew tired, too. That night he died because the great empty shell was so cold. A wise old crow then said, "You see! That's what comes of envy. What you have is enough. Be yourself and save yourself from a lot of trouble. How much better to be a little snail in a comfortable shell than to be a little snail in a big shell and freeze to death!" - (Bible Illustrations)
Envy or jealousy can be quite dangerous.
- Envy is Like the Grave - Song of Songs 8:6 - Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. (NKJV)
- Envy Is Of The World - 1 Corinthians 3:3 - You are still not spiritual, because there is jealousy and quarreling among you, and this shows that you are not spiritual. You are acting like people of the world. (NCV)
- Envy Rots Away At Us - Proverbs 14:30 - A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (ESV)
- Envy Drives People Away - Proverbs 27:4 - Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?(ESV)
- Envy Shows No Mercy - Proverbs 6:34 - For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. (HCSB)
- Envy Brings Disorder And Evil - James 3:16 - For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil (HCSB).
- Envy Kills - Job 5:2 - "For anger slays the foolish man, And jealousy kills the simple. (NASB)
With such a reputation, one can see why envy / jealousy is so deadly but there is hope in contentment 1 Timothy 6:7-8 - For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (ESV)
Here's something to ponder
- Are you envious of what other have?
- Are you content with what God has given you?