Envy & Generosity
I have always enjoyed boats; both sail and power boats. During our Michigan years, I owned a little sailboat called a “Sunfish.” It was 13’ 9” long with a single sail, low to the water and easy to sail alone. I would often trailer it to Lake Michigan and sail in the waves and often tipped over.
One Saturday there was an open house at a local yacht club prior to a big race. One of the boats was a gorgeous, 65-70’ sailboat with a tall mast and bright brass and teak decks. I gingerly walked through it, admiring the rigging, the technology and it’s craftsmanship. I bumped into the owner and expressed thanks for being allowed to tour the boat. I asked a number of sailing questions. Then he asked, “Do you sail?” I said “Oh yes!” Then he asked, “What kind of boat do you sail?” That’s where I got embarrassed and quiet. He thought I was in his category of sailing.
So I sheepishly said “I just sail a Sunfish”. He smiled and said, “That’s the best basic sailing there is!” My sense of comparison and competition distanced me from him. His generosity included me in the community of sailors. I compared the cost of the gear and he focused on the joy of the sport. It’s so easy to compare, contrast and compete with each other, from designer labels to pedigree of degrees. We can compete about what we know and who we know, where we live and how we live.
The two texts for Sunday highlight our comparative tendencies in Exodus 16:2-18 and Matthew 20:1-16. If you don’t already know it, ask God to show you where your envy is getting in the way of His generosity.