Today the strongholds of envy and bitterness are strong throughout the world. Jealousy is wanting what another has; Envy is not wanting them to have it.
There’s a parable of two fellows who were friends; one of them had a goat. Day after day, the fellow led his goat with him wherever he went, and spoke of his goat when he had to leave him behind. This made the goat-less friend angry and bitter, having to see and listen to stories about this goat. Then one day, the goat-less friend found a magic lamp in the road. He rubbed it, and a genie appeared.
“You are granted one wish! What will it be?”
Without hesitation the goat-less friend replied, “I wish my friend’s goat to die.” And so it was.
A clear example of envy’s subtlety is Jesus’s illustration of the disgruntled workers. Some were hired in the morning, and promised a certain wage. Some were hired later that morning, some at noon, and some close to work-day’s end, all promised the same wage. Those hired first reasoned that since they had labored longer than the others, they would surely receive the greater compensation. But at the end of the day, they were all paid the same amount. The first-hired became angry, but were countered with grace. “Why are you angry that I am generous? Did I not pay you what I promised you?”
Working for a large ministry, our group was merged into another during downsizing. During our group’s weekly meeting, our manager told this worker’s parable, reminding us how easily envy and bitterness can creep in, even when we receive what we have agreed to. Later we learned that it was Bonus Time, and that in order for the original group members to receive a larger bonus, our group had to receive a smaller bonus. We had been forewarned, and were able to be grateful for our bonuses, regardless of what others received.
Life is not fair. God is not fair. Instead, He has made you joint-heirs and co-inheritors, and claims you now as His Beloved Sons, with all the inherent benefits.
That’s not fair, either.
Be forewarned, and be grateful that God is generous to whom and as He chooses.