What was it that killed Abel in the book of Genesis? Cain, you say? Yes, but I did not ask who. We all know, by merely reading the passage, that Cain killed Abel because God favored Abel’s humility and submission in regards to his offering, not that God favored what was given but how it was given. Cain may have done the deed, but it was the jealousy inside of him that drove him to kill his brother.
Have jealousy-driven actions changed any along the way to the 21st century? Absolutely not! A major difference amongst Christians that differs from this story is that instead of bringing physical harm to our brothers and sisters we tend to lash out and run them down with words. Some will even try to do all that can be done to talk as negative about each other possible.
Yes, this unfortunately happens in the body of Christ. When looking at jealousy forming in our ministries, there are two points that stand out above the others.
1. The success of other ministries.
Just as God found favor in Abel’s offering, it seems today when churches grow or ministries expand either one or two things happen. People shout, “praise the Lord!” or whisper, “that’s Impossible.”
That last phrase was all too familiar to Jesus during His earthly ministry. As Jesus himself said in Matthew 19:26, “With God all things are possible.” And guess what? They still are. To become jealous over how God has blessed another ministry hurts the cause of Christ. For when Christians love one another, and most when we fight one another, let us remember that the world is watching!
2. “I feel like I am owed something!”
What for? For doing what God has called you to do?
Jesus tells us to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven not upon the earth. Yet today we focus on jealousy and become bitter if we are not careful. Football coach Mack Brown once said in an interview when preparing for an upcoming game at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that he could not worry about how his opponent played their game. His focus was on how his team played their game, and if he could do that he would have a better chance of winning.
May we stay focused on what God has called us to do; praying for one another in love, not jealousy. For as Paul said “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11 NIV)