Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: Love does not envy
By Ed VanDeMark
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Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV) (Emphasis mine)
While I realize this verse covers several characteristics of love, the one I want to focus on is ďit does not envy.Ē
According to my dictionaryÖ Envy is having ill will or hatred toward someone because they have something that you desire but donít have.
Recently I spoke to a lady who told me that she hates people who have health insurance that is paid for by their employer. Her husband is self employed and if they have health insurance they have to pay for it themselves. According to the dictionary she wants health insurance that is paid for by someone else but doesnít have it, so in her own words she hates everyone that does have it. This is pretty straight forward, she envyís people with employer paid health insurance.
Now letís consider a more subtle form of envy. While I canít ever remember hating anyone for any reason and especially not for their possessions, I came close. I wanted to be the best at everything. I called it being competitive. When I played sports I never played for second place. To me second place screamed loser. In fact I played to beat you as badly as I could; to embarrass you if that was possible.
When I came to know the Lord I wanted to be the super human Christian. I wanted to know more about the bible than anyone else. I wanted to preach better than the preachers and I wanted to show more empathy than anyone in my generation. While these things didnít happen, I did get pretty good at all three, but for the wrong reason. I got good at them, not out of love for God but because a second place shouted loser to me.
I have absolutely no musical ability. If minus a million is possible that is where I am musically. I now believe that God saw fit to make me so bad at every thing musical to help me be humbled into an understanding of his wisdom. I attended a Rotary program where two ladies demonstrated a technique for teaching music to two year old children. Their technique made no sense to me. No matter how hard I concentrated I couldnít fathom the very thing they successfuly used to teach kids who were still learning to walk and talk. To my competitive mind that made me the ultimate loser.
In time, as I grew in my faith, I came to learn that the things I donít have are as important as the things I do have. When God gives me a gift he doesnít intend for me to hoard it. He gives it to me so that I can give it away. Iím blessed so that I can be a blessing. That means I need to use my gifts to help other people. That also means, if I had all of the gifts I would be in continual ministry, which in turn means I would be well on my way to a total and absolute burn out.
Suddenly it dawned on me, the things God saw fit to withhold from me are in reality gifts. I have no obligation to minister to anyone with music. That means when it comes to music I can sit back and let someone else minister to me and not feel the slightest bit guilty. Thus my lack of musical ability, rather than being a curse, is a gift from God. This lets God use the very thing I donít have to regenerate my energy and restore my soul.
Love does not envy. It enables me to love and appreciate the people that have the things I donít have.
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