I said last Sunday that one of my aims as a minister of the Word is to make the assembly more jealous-able. That is, I want for our flock to have the sort of lives that make others a certain sort of jealous. More should be said about this, because it is possible to get it wrong.
My desire is informed by Romans 11 where Paul told the Romans that he magnified his ministry in order to make his brother Israelites jealous (verses 13-14). In the grace and wisdom of God, some of Paul’s kinsmen had rejected salvation in Jesus so that others would receive salvation so that some in the first group would be made jealous and return to receive Jesus themselves. When God blesses some, even in surprising and unexpected ways, those blessings may be part of His means to provoke others to want the God of blessings.
But this is a competition that provokes one another to blessing, not bitterness. Be jealous-able in such a way that includes others rather than excludes them. The jealous-ability I’m referring to is not a zero-sum economics game; it is not more for me means neener-neener for you. Blessed jealous-ability has room and wants others to join and have joy and be jealous-able, too.
So here are two reminders/exhortations. First, if you are trying to win the prize (think 1 Corinthians 9:24) in a way that a spiritual person cannot give thanks for, you may just be trying to be better, not blessed. That is standard issue rivalry, available in any store. Second, if you are unable to give thanks for the blessings given by God to another spiritual person, you may just be standard issue resentful, not even name brand, just the generic.
We are not all given an equal amount (of height, of paycheck, of hair, of gifts at the baby shower, of et cetera), but we are given equal commands to give thanks and to rejoice when others rejoice.