"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love and Envy on the Road Home

We have all felt it, that twinge of jealousy when we first see our friend's much nicer house or his cooler new ride. Something childish and primitive deep inside cries out, "Why not me? I deserve that more than he does! I want! I want! I want!" We know we should be happy for him, but, truthfully, we wish we had it.

Maybe we have left such material desires behind us. Being spiritual, we have moved on. Until we hear the stirring young gifted one teach and move the multitude to repentance and restoration and in our dark hearts we question, "What dues has he paid, Lord? I have been your faithful servant all these years and never seen such fruit. It's not fair!"

Jesus knows us cold, doesn't he? In the parable of the workers (Matthew 20:1-16) he used the illustration of calling workers for a wage. Some came at the beginning of the day, agreed to the wage, and devoted themselves to the task. Others came at the end of the day and received the same wage for a short amount of work. At this, the workers who had labored hard all day cried, "Unfair!" To which the overseer replied, "Mind your own business. Or are you envious because I am generous?" (OK, that's my paraphrase.) I know, the point of Jesus parable probably had more to do with Israel and Gentiles than the point I am making here, but I don't think he will object.

God gives to each one according to God's plan, in his sovereignty, and we need to, essentially, mind our own business. As Jesus said to the other disciples regarding John's lifespan, "what is it to you if I decide he should tarry until I return?"(John 21:22) As usual, our difficulty arises when we forget who is God and who is not.

Another part of the sovereign plan of God that we overlook is his lovingkindness for each of us. The Mother who says "no" to her child who wants the second dessert or the Father who does not give his young son the keys to the Jaguar does so out of love. They can see consequences the child cannot see, and are protecting them in ways the child cannot understand.

There are very good reasons, no doubt, that we do not all look like movie stars and have unlimited wealth. These are not the things that will bring us into spiritual and emotional intimacy with God and one another, and that is the purpose of our being here. That is the destination of our journey on this, our road home.

"Love... does not envy." I Corinthians 13:4