It Does Not Envy

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

I Corinthians 13:4

Again such an odd place to start

The first “it does not” statement about love

Goes to envy of all things

Envy isn’t something I like to think much about

Like stealing or adultery

It seems like someone else’s sin

Surely a mature person should be incapable of envy

Envy is clearly the domain of the weak-willed

The petulant

The insecure

Like the prodigal’s brother

Unhappy that someone else got a blessing

He felt he deserved

Or like a toddler

Upset at a friend’s new toy

If I am being honest

And what’s the point of lying to yourself?

God knows my inmost thoughts

Even the ones I would never speak aloud

Sometimes I have envied

Someone else

Not so much for things

I do not envy the person with the backyard pool

Or the gorgeous garden I do not have time to grow myself

I do not envy the family who goes on vacations to Hawaii

Or Walt Disney World

At least not very often

Not even so much for other things

I do not envy the baseball player

I’ve never been any good at sports

Quite content to be a fan

I do not envy the great chef

I don’t even like to cook

But I envy the successful singer

My own voice quiet for long months

I envy the mom who seems to have it all together

Whose ducks are all in neat shiny rows

When mine are definitely not

Why do we envy?

Why are we dissatisfied with what we have been given

When we have been given so much?

Sometimes the things I envy are due to choices I have made

A working mom and wife with little time for the gym

Envying the slim stay-at-home mom who in turn envies me my job

Envy rears its ugly head

When someone else receives accolades

Or praise

Or position

Closer to home

Those things we secretly wish we had

Or perhaps on our worst day

Those things we think we deserve

Entitlement

Pride

Thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought

At the root of much of our envy

Envy

So ugly

Like the slime at the bottom of a month-old, unwashed coffee mug

The coffee gradually becoming a cesspool of murky viscous goo

Clinging to the side of the cup

Or a daisy dried up and withering in the summer heat

Its petals turning brown and brittle

Let go of this vile stuff

Allow Christ to wash the inside of the cup

And make it sparkling clean

Til no trace of envy remains

Til I am delighted for my friend

Her face beaming with her good news

Rejoicing even with my enemy

When she receives the promotion

Letting go of every pretense

The lies that whisper

“You deserve it more”

The fact is we all deserve death

Everything we have is undeserved

In the shadow of the cross

Eternal life a free gift

And I don’t have to have that solo

To appreciate the voice God has given me

To sing his praises

I don’t need to long for the promotion

I can be content with what I have

With the gifts I have in abundance already

Beyond what I could have asked for or imagined

I already have God’s favor

All the things

Pale in comparison to that

So live free, Christian

Let go of comparison

Love others by delighting for them and with them

For love does not envy

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