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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

20 Dec '11

Who threatens us and who are we envious of?

Two interesting questions to ponder. Who are we threatened by and who are we envious of? The answers to both reveal a great deal about us, our hearts and our insecurities.


Usually we are threatened by someone who we perceive to have more influence and power than we do. Thus the pastor who resents a strong layman in the congregation who others look up to. Or a former leader in a church whose influence has waned and is threatened by other strong leaders who have emerged. Those in the secular workplace know all too well the subtle power struggles that take place as people jockey for influence and power - against others who are a threat to their influence and power. Even the closest disciples of Jesus were not immune to these petty jealousies.


Another way of framing the question is "Who am I envious of?" Usually we are envious of those who see more "success" than we do, by whatever measure we are using, and those who have more perceived favor and status in the eyes of others.


Those who we are threatened by or envious of are important to us. Not because of who they are but because of what they reveal about the state of our hearts, motivations and drive. In short, they reveal deficiencies in our hearts and psyche! They reveal an incompleteness in us that must be made up for by competing with others and often hurting others in order to build ourselves up. For the only way to trump those who threaten us or we are envious of is to outdo them - to demean them in order to elevate us!


And here is the heart of the matter. This is all about us! It is not about our calling or humbly serving where God has us. It is about pride and personal elevation which inevitably means someone else suffers at our expense. The Apostle Paul never played this game and he never competed with those who competed with him. In fact, he ignored those who he called "super apostles" who were jockeying for power and influence and he simply stayed the course of the ministry God had called him to which was harder, more costly with fewer accolades of others but played to an audience of One. He knew that at the end of the day, it was God's evaluation of his life that counted, not the evaluation of others.


Pay attention to those you are threatened by or envious of. The message is not about them but about us!