My team member sat in front of a group of people in South America, sharing her testimony. All of the kids hung on her every word. She looked beautiful and confident — the poster child for short-term mission trips. Meanwhile, I sat in the back of the room wishing that I could be that confident. I’d been taken over by the green-eyed monster of jealousy, and jealousy is very good at breaking up unity.
Often, jealousy is a source of discord in the church. The way to combat this discord is to create unity by constantly reminding ourselves that all gifts are equally valuable to God. Take for example a baseball team. It can’t function without nine players. Does the coach tell the catcher to go home just because the pitcher is in the spotlight? Of course not. If one player is in the background it doesn’t mean his talent is less valuable to the team — just different in nature.
Thinking back to that day in South America, I remembered something else: when my teammate finished her talk, the kids came over to me. I realized that maybe my gift was to listen, not speak, and that that gift was every bit as valuable as my teammate’s. Just as in baseball. We were teammates in a sense on that mission trip — teammates playing for the ultimate Coach, our Lord Jesus Christ. We as believers are unified in a common goal: to serve and glorify Him. When Jesus is what we are all focused on, there’s no space for jealousy — only unity.
Lord, help me to remember that all of us have been given different gifts, and that all gifts are important. Please help me to not fall prey to the jealousy that creates discord in the church; help me to internalize the truth that all gifts are important to build up the church and to maintain unity. Thank You for Your good gifts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Go Deeper — Next Sunday at church, look around. Instead of being jealous of your friend who sings in the choir with her lovely voice, thank God for her gift, and then think about your gift. Maybe the promise of your amazing chocolate pound cake is what draws prospective new members to the church social. The rest of the congregation is probably thanking God for your gift!