There’s this guy I’ve known for decades. He started his Christian life the same way I did. Like me, he was an angry 60s rebel who met Jesus on the streets during the Jesus Movement revival. Like me, some great men and women of the faith took an interest in his life and taught him how to walk with Jesus. Like me, he felt God’s call to serve Christ in vocational ministry. Like me, he is sold out to the Lord Jesus as a devoted disciple.
Unlike me, he went straight into ministry after his studies at a university. Unlike me, he did not go to seminary and never studied the Bible under esteemed theologians and professors of Bible. Unlike me, his work for Christ has never centered in a local church, but has been more regional, nationwide, and even global.
Though we are both convinced that we are walking the path the Lord Jesus is leading us on, our convictions about how to actually reach the world for Him could not be more different!
• He’s into the big splash, the hottest trends, and the latest evango-hero personality. I hate that stuff.
• He devotes a lot of his life doing “think tank” stuff around a table with other “think-tank guys,” strategizing and planning. I think that’s a waste of time.
• He’s really interested in politics and current trends in America, and how the church can do something big to turn our culture around. I think that politics too often distracts Christians from the only real hope for America—authentic churches that make disciples that transform their families, neighborhoods, and communities.
• He’s a top-down authoritarian leader; I’m a team-processing communal leader.
• He’s the boss; I’m the player-coach.
• He thinks I’m too vulnerable to my team; I think he lives in a dangerous place.
We disagree on a lot of theological issues too!
• He actually practices some gifts of the Holy Spirit I’m not sure are still around.
• He’s not sure Christians can’t lose their salvation; I’m absolutely convinced that eternal life is a free gift that can never be lost.
Oh yeah, he makes a lot more money than I do, doesn’t suffer from a chronic disease, flies away to exotic getaways with his wife several times a year, and his ministry receives huge gifts from extremely wealthy people.
Not that I’m comparing, competing, or envious.
Yes I am.
Don’t tell me you don’t struggle with this too.
Is there a person like this in your life?
You can’t understand why God gives them opportunities when they disagree with you about so many things. You can’t understand why God doesn’t straighten out their theology when it’s so obvious to you that they are so wrong. And you really have a problem with God giving them such an easy life when you have to struggle like you do.
Here’s what I’ve decided about this guy. You may want to decide the same about the Christian in your life you’re either competing with, comparing yourself to, or envious of.
He has his garden to tend for God, and that is between him and Jesus.
My garden is Church of the Open Door. Jesus wants me to be the best under-gardener I can be in the garden He gave me to tend.
When Peter looked up from the garden of his life and challenged the Lord Jesus about the “easy garden” He gave to John, the Lord told him what we all need to hear:
“If I will that he remain (in a life that doesn’t involve as much suffering as yours) till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” –John 21:22
Question: What strategy helps you when you’re feeling jealous of other people’s gardens?