Good morning to all. I pray your day is off to a wonderful start. Please see message for today below:
October 11, 2021
When I Woke up this morning, the word envy was on my mind. I began to reflect on the damage the coronavirus has done to people all over the world. It is a virus, if contacted can destroy or do great harm to others because it is contagious and deadly. When I began to think about the word envy, I began to see it as a virus that can infect others we have contact with. There may be people in your circle, community, church, family, etc. that can’t accept you for who you are because you have something they desire or cherish.
One would think that all of us would be happy and rejoice for the successes and gains others have made in life. However, that is not always the case. Envy can cause your family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends and even church affiliates to treat you a little different because of how you dress, the house you live in, material possessions you have acquired, your education, or simply the beauty of your yard. Envy can be caused by something grand or something very simple. It could be as simple as the way you dress. I once had a principal who I considered to be a very beautiful person on the inside and out. There were other staff members who couldn’t stand her. So, one day I gained enough nerve to ask them why they did not like the principal. Their response was because she is attractive, great dresser and she thinks she is cute. They envied what she wore and how she carried herself. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it, but it was true.
Gerard P. Weber defines envy: “Envy is the pain we feel as we look at another’s talents possessions, honors, or position and conclude that we are somewhat less because the other person has something we lack, want, wish for or crave.”
One of the first stories we find in the Bible that identifies envy is that of two brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain was envious of Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering and refused his own. Genesis 4:5 says that, “Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” Rather than looking at himself and figuring out how to improve his offering, he committed a horrific sin. In this case, it caused one brother to kill the other. Envy caused Cain to be bitter and showed anger toward his brother. There are families today who are bickering and fighting because one has something the other can not have.
There is also the danger of one person wanted what the other person has and will do harm to gain it. Now the virus of envy is really getting out of control when this happens. An example of this can be found in 1 Kings, Chapter 3. Two women living in the same house, each having a child came to Solomon. One of the babies had died, and now both mothers place claim to the living child. Calling for a sword, Solomon declared that the living baby be cut in two, and each woman receiving half. One mother begged Solomon not to kill the baby and give it to the other mother. One mother made it clear that if she could not have the baby, then neither of them could. Of course, the wise Solomon declared the woman who was willing to give up the baby the true parent. The one mother could not go on knowing that the other lady had a baby and she did not. We have heard horror stories about mothers kidnapping someone else’s baby. Could it be caused by envy?
Two commandments that denounces envy. They are, “Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Deuteronomy 5:21).
In 1 Kings 21: 1-16, we have prime example of the above passage of scripture. Naboth owned a vineyard, in the proximity to King Ahab’s palace in the city of Jezreel. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use as a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” Ahab became so depressed and distraught that his wife, Jezebel, had Naboth murdered so the king could possess the land.
The question becomes, what do I use as an antidote for envy? In my opinion, we accept the fact that we are all different and God blesses us differently. We accept who we are and make the best out of what God has granted us and not dwell on what someone else possesses. For real, it is only ours for a season.
The apostle Paul gave the cure for envy as he advised the Romans: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not claim to be wiser than you are” (Romans 12: 15-16).
My advice is that we pray to God to remove this virus from our hearts and rejoice in what God has given us. “My heart is at ease knowing that what is meant for me will never miss me, and that which misses me was never meant for me.” Imam al Shafi’i
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor