August 11

Thinking About Others, Part 2

Matthew 20:1-15 [Note to reader: Either read these verses, or refer to this set of scriptures from yesterday’s devotional.]

I Corinthians 12:4-6 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

I Corinthians 12:15-18 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body….But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

When we become jealous of others for any reason, especially our fellow believers, we are defiantly questioning the wisdom of God. And it’s such a trick of the enemy, as we have no reason to be jealous.

Of course God loves us equally; we know that in our heads, if not quite in our hearts. But he also knows what He’s doing when He gives gifts. They are all from the Holy Spirit, and they are given for different reasons, most of which we honestly will never fully understand.

We are all called to be good stewards of what we have, and being faithful to God in how we use what He’s given us is the issue. For many of us, moving into godly stewardship has to wait awhile while we adjust to not having what we want, and being gifted in areas we might not particularly like. That’s part of our growing in sanctification, but we need to get past the jealousy phase to become accepting, and then finally, grateful for who we are in Christ. God has made us who and how we are for His purposes. Our call is to submit who we are to God—including all gifts, spiritual or otherwise—and be good stewards of everything we have.

There is truth to the reality that sometimes God’s blessings seem to fall greatly on some and less on others. We will never know the true inside story involving anyone else, but the scriptures make it clear that obedience is rewarded, diligence produces good results, and He answers the prayers of His people. (Proverbs also makes it clear that laziness has its own built-in punishment, and that wickedness and unbelief bring negative consequences.)

Truth be told, if we were allowed to look deeply into the trials and challenges of some of those we are jealous of, we might be shocked into silence and gratitude for our own lives. As Jesus told Peter in yesterday’s reading, what He is doing in the lives of others is not our business; following Him is.

What we have from God is up to God, and our argument is ultimately with Him if we are not satisfied with that. Our focus should be off of others (except for love) and onto our own hearts, our own diligence, and our own faithfulness to steward what He’s given us. That’s what He expects, and that’s what His grace is for.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for what I have received from you. Help me to develop all You’ve given me for Your glory. Forgive me for being jealous of others. I release them all and pray Your blessing on them. Amen.

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