You are called to be faithful. You are called to love unconditionally, no strings attached. Love is other-centered. These points help us confront what all fight- envy, jealousy. Perhaps seen most visibly among artists, I am remiss to ignore it.
I hate jealousy because I love community. Jealousy robs us of joy and even our future. Jealousy makes enemies out of God-ordained friendships. Jealousy seeps in before God’s plan is yet realized or fulfilled. Thus, envy comes in as a destroyer. Envy begets competition. Is winning in popularity producing eternal fruit for God’s Kingdom? Not always.
Somewhere along the line we must choose to mature by first admitting it’s happening. Then by confronting it within ourselves. Lastly, overcoming through prayer and action.
Jealousy seeps in when our identity is shaken, when we do not feel secure in who we are, in Whose we are, and/or not confident in our current purpose. Further, the one on the other side of the equation may not be at fault, yet is now isolated from a community, formerly supportive.
Hope’s definition is to be ‘on the way.’ It is a going forward, not always arriving. A secular world tells us we must arrive, achieve, constantly be number 1, in order to be. This is a lie – a full deception.
Jesus through the Gospels points us to be ‘poor in spirit,’ trusting in Him. Goal number one is to love Him. Goal number two is to love others. All gifts should be pointed to those goals. His call is to be united with Him, to be one with Love itself (God is love, I John). When we are confident and one with God, we are not jealous of our friend/colleague or their gifts. Perhaps what you see in your friend is a similar gift – somewhat close to what you yourself hope to obtain, or cultivate.
All said however, I invite us to look at it in a different way:
Gifts are for service. The gift comes from the Gift-giver Himself, our God. If your friend is using their gift to serve in some manner, watch yourself. If they are serving without much or any payment, recognize their sacrifice. Notice then, their motive to love. If they are serving the Lord, realize you may be standing on “holy ground’ – God’s turf. Yikes.
Turn it all around by serving alongside them! Why not try to help them? Time, prayerful intercession, financial support and relationship. Take a moment to pray for your friend who has this gift. Ask God if there is a way you can help them move forward. In other words ask God “how can I help my friend bless more people on earth through this gift?” Ask God how you can serve them.
If you are a leader then create space for the one with a gift, be hospitable and create a unique space or platform for the gift. Watch God move through this one. You may see this person bless many and grow in some expressed popularity. Praise God, it’s working! There and then, watch out — the destroyer will tempt you to compete – to sideline your peer, to place him or her in the margins and to compete. You will be tempted to ‘use’ this one for your own gain. Seize this as an opportunity! Be resolved that it is perfectly fine for your friend to be recognized and blessed without any mention of your needs. Sacrifice your needs and watch for a miracle of God meeting your needs as you seek to meet His. Pray and continue to bless your friend until their dreams are fulfilled.
Likely you may help launch a new ministry that will not only bless your fellowship, but may be launched into a whole other place on earth. Help give them wings to fly! What you make happen for someone else, God will make happen for you in His way, in His time. If you compete, or merely carve out narrow spaces for this one, God will ‘eek out’ spaces for your dreams as well. You cannot out-give God!
Take time to bless your friend, not with a mere email but with actions. Initiate face-to-face coffee or lunch times. Get acquainted. Over time, you will see how God is molding your desires into His will — perhaps differently than your friend. Dare to ask God to change your motives to an outward focus beyond sharing your heart, but more, to produce restoration in others’ lives. Dare to ask your friend for assistance in how to cultivate your gift. Dare to be taught.
Dare to risk and watch God move in your relationship – perhaps the relationship will thrive! Who knows that over time the serving of one another will blossom into a creative community? Gifts are for service. Gifts are avenues to love.
Remember love is other-centered. You are called to be faithful. Success is measured by God. Your rewards are eternal. The first reward here on earth is joy.