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Who do you envy?

by Robert Kiser  
3/10/2010 / Christian Living

I would like to share with you a lesson that the Lord once taught me. I found myself wanting to model myself after others that I seen in Christian ministry and at times found myself even a little bit jealous of them. Now we as Christians know that we are not to covet anything that anybody else has. However secretly if we have nothing it is easy to sometimes look at others that seem to be blessed with everything and ask why not me? Well I am not perfect and I have had moments like that. On one of these occasions I shrugged it off and began reading my bible. The following passage is one the Lord used to get my attention.

Mark 12:38-44
38 And in His teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places,
39 and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets,
40 who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation."
41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
43 And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."

I read this and paused for a moment and pictured this lady in my mind. I seen an older lady dressed in worn shabby clothes. Even in the text you can see she was poor. Now an older lady who was a widow in Jesus' day would not receive very much attention. In fact women in general were not given a lot of respect. So here is this poor lady dressed in rags coming up to put money in the temple treasury. She comes up quietly with her head down low and puts in a cent which really amounts to nothing. She is someone that the compassionate would pity. Anyway I visualized this in my mind. I feel as the Lord interrupted my thoughts to ask me a question. The question that my thoughts were interrupted with was this. "In the times that you have envied others or wished that you were in their shoes so to speak have wished you were like her?

Now before you read on stop right here and ask yourself the same question. Seriously stop a minute and picture this poor widow in your mind and ask yourself this question.

I did stop and pondered this question and I said no I have never wished I was like her. Then in my mind the Lord came across loud and clear. Why not? She received my praise!

Wow! I felt ashamed! You see by the Worlds standards we may appear as a failure. We may appear as someone of no significance, but the Lord views things a lot differently than the world does. This lady was at a state of disadvantage in the world's perspective. Yet Jesus used her as an object lesson for his disciples whom he was trying to teach. Somehow I do not think that she is at any disadvantage now! I do not think the praise from Jesus ended there! We are to give of ourselves not looking for recognition of those within the Church or anybody else. Consider the next passage and how it ties in with the one we just read.

Matt 6:2-6
2 "When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
3 "But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing
4 that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
5 "And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

We are to approach our duty in a quiet humble manner not looking for the recognition of any person or church leader. Our concern is to be obedient and pleasing to the Lord.

I would like to add one final illustration that I heard somewhere about our committing to the Lord and pleasing Him. This illustration I have found thought provoking. Committing totally to the Lord is like being handed a legal contract which you know that you will be strictly bound to. This particular legal contract will be involved in every single area of your life. It is on a legal form with the law firms name stated at the top. There is a line down at the bottom where the one bound to the contract is supposed to sign. The rest of the page is blank.

The Lord hands you the contract and ask if you wish to sign stating as he hands it to you. "Do not worry about all of the details; I will fill in the rest later!"

Do you really trust him? Will you sign the contract and not worry? Will we be content being looked at by the world as a failure and a person of no significance? Whose praise are we seeking?

Robert Kiser is the author of a few free pdf books and the website.
His website explains and defends the Christian Faith. It also includes a section on Cults including Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses.

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