Jealousy first reared its ugly head back in the beginning. It was one of the primary motivations for Satan’s rebellion. Pride, of course, was one motive, and jealousy the other. Satan wanted to be God.
We begin our struggle with jealousy as children. A simple game named King of the Castle illustrates this. The concept is basic. Run to the top of the hill, push-off whoever is currently up there, and take over as king. The person on top wins.
This need to have what other people have, or be where other people are, doesn’t stop in childhood. As adults, we play a subtler version of the game. Our strategy is more passive aggressive, but the feeling of entitlement is still there. We want what they have. We want their job, their status, their privileges, their reputation, their authority, or their personality. Admit it! Someone else often has something you want.
God warns us jealousy is rampant in life and He cautions us to be satisfied with what we have rather than wanting more (Eccl 6:9). For example, look at Matthew 20:1-16. The workers chosen by the vineyard owner felt happy to have work and eagerly accepted the suggested pay of one coin.
Then the vineyard owner returned to the marketplace and secured more workers. As the day progressed, he hired more and more workers. He staggered their arrival from 9am, 12 pm, 3 pm, and 5pm.
When the men lined up to receive their pay, they each received one coin – the amount upon which they agreed. When the vineyard owner blessed the men who worked a partial day to the same capacity as those who worked a full day jealousy reigned.
A part of me can connect with the disgruntled workers, especially when God appears to bless someone who (in my opinion) isn’t serving Him well. The vineyard owner answers this attitude:
“Friend, I am being fair to you. You agreed to work for one coin. So take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same pay I gave you. I can do what I want with my own money. Are you jealous because I am good to my own people (Matthew 20:13-15)?”
Ouch. If you felt the pinch of that verse now personalize it: “I am fair, Stacey. You promised to work for me based on your great love for me. The blessing I give you is more than I ever promised. If I want to bless others, what business is it of yours? I can do what I want because I am God. Are you jealous because I love others as much as I love you?”
Sometimes I think I am.
Ecclesiastes 6:9 warns us that it is a waste of time to daydream about what you wish you had. It’s better to be satisfied with what you have already been blessed.
Do you believe that God is in control? Do you believe that He loves you? Do you believe that He knows what is best for you? If you answered yes, than you should find rest and satisfaction in the knowledge that He knows exactly what He is doing and that includes how He chooses to bless you.