When You Envy, You’re in a Battle with God
By Rick Warren
“Friend, I didn’t cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. . . . What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” (Matthew 20:13-15a CEV).
When it looks like God’s blessing somebody in a way that he’s not blessing you, relax and trust God. Believe that he knows what’s best for you, and trust him when life seems unfair.
One of the ways you can tell envy is creeping into your life is the language you use. If you find yourself using the phrase “It’s not fair,” you’ve already fallen into the trap of envy. You say, “It’s not fair! Why them? Why not me? I’ve worked as hard as they do.”
In Jesus’ parable of the vineyard workers, the workers felt that they were being treated unfairly, not because they weren’t paid what they were promised but because other people who worked less were paid the same amount.
Matthew 20:12 says, “These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us” (The Message). You can hear the envy: “We slaved all day under a scorching sun. We’re better than them!”
Notice in the next verses the reply of the owner, who represents God: “Friend, I didn’t cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. . . . What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” (Matthew 20:13-15a CEV).
The bottom line on envy is this: When you’re envious, you’re in a battle with God. You doubt God’s goodness in your life. You resent his decision to bless somebody else. You accuse him of being unfair or of playing favorites. You don’t believe he has your best interest at heart.
On the contrary, God’s extravagant, unconditional, unending love is the same for everyone. But he’s not a vending machine — you can’t put in a prayer and get whatever you want. God has a good reason why you don’t have what you want. He knows you better than you know yourself. Practice praying, “God, I’m going to trust that you have a unique plan for my life and that you know better than me what I need right now.”
Envy is the fever. Doubting God is the infection. Any time you start envying, it’s because you doubt God. The medicine you need is to start trusting again in God and his love for you.
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