The Package Deal

Have you ever longed to have something that someone else has?  Perhaps it's a job, house, spouse, talent or appearance?  We hesitate to answer in the affirmative because envy is a sin, right?  But if we're honest with ourselves and with each other, I think we'll all admit that there have been times when we've looked at someone else and said, "I wish I had that."

This morning the Lord brought to light something that I think will help me every time my mind starts to long for things that others have, and I hope it will be of help to you as well.  What if the Lord would allow you to have the thing that you longed for on one condition--it was a package deal?  In other words, you trade everything you have (talents, possessions, relationships, etc.) for everything that another person has.  Does that "one thing" still look so appealing?  Probably not, but that's how the trade works.

Think about it like this.  Every person is a sum of their individual characteristics, experiences, relationships, talents, etc.  If we were to change any one part, that person would no longer be the same.  And if we were to adopt one thing from that person, we would no longer be the same.  For example, I could wish for the figure of lovely little Betty (a fictitious name, mind you), but what I would soon realize is that while I attained her hourglass figure, I still don't have the skills, strength and discipline required to keep that figure.  If I want to have and keep the lovely figure, I'll have to exchange the entire package, not just long for the single outcome of years of self-discipline and sacrifice on her part.  Make sense?

If not, try this example on for size.  What if a celery stalk could taste like a candy bar yet maintain all of its health benefits?  Wouldn't that be awesome?  I can tell you one thing, celery would be served at every meal at my house!  But what is it that makes the candy bar tastes so good?  All the bad stuff in it, right?  In order for the celery to taste like the candy bar, we would have to fill it with all the bad stuff which, in turn, would destroy all the health benefits, right?  We can't have the flavor of the candy bar and the nutritional benefits of the celery in a single food item.  It just doesn't work that way.  It's a package deal.  If we want the nutrition of celery, guess what?  We need to eat celery.  If we want the flavor of the candy bar (If?  Who am I kidding?), we'll have to settle for the candy bar and the resulting detriments to our health (and waistline).  It's all or nothing!

So, the next time the seed of envy begins to sprout forth in your mind, ask yourself this question, "Do I want that thing enough to give up everything that I have?"  Chances are, the answer is "no," and the seed will quickly wither and die.  That's not to say it won't return, but when it does, you know exactly what question to ask.

Now, before I close, I have a question for you.  In this post, I have spoken equally about celery and candy bars, so why is it that my body is only crying out for one of those things (and it's not the celery)?  Oh dear me!  Another battle rages on.

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. - James 3:14-16