When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
Do not toil to acquire wealth;
be discerning enough to desist.
When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
for suddenly it sprouts wings,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Proverbs 23:1–5 ESV
When I was a kid, every time a friend would get a new gadget, I wanted one too.
I’d go to their houses and see their flashy video games and expensive sports trading cards. Automatically, I had to have them, too.
The funny thing is, as adults we don’t magically outgrow this mindset.
In today’s verses, we learn to put a “knife to our throat” when we’re around wealthy people with nice things. In our day, I think the primary place most of us get into this situation is on social media.
We see the Instagram version of people’s lives—all the highs, none of the lows—and it’s easy to envy.
Instead, we often see what other people have:
- vacations on social media…
- new houses…
- fancy cars…
We secretly want them, too.
However, it doesn’t stop at stuff. We also see things like:
- pastors with larger churches…
- friends with faster-growing businesses…
- coworkers who get promotions…
At worst, we resent them for their growth thinking we deserve them.
Maybe your heart is more pure than mine and you’ve never had to fight these proclivities, but as a business owner, nonprofit leader, author, and pastor, I constantly fight to kill envy and jealousy in these areas.
I find the remedy to envy in answering these two questions:
- What is God’s purpose for my life?
- What do I want to spend my days pursuing?
When we discover and embrace God’s purpose for our lives, something incredible happens.
Life becomes about what we can GIVE not what we can GET!
God blesses his people to be blessings to the nations (Genesis 12:2). God grows his people to provide fruit to everyone around them (Hebrews 6:7–8). Jesus calls his people to multiply the talents he’s entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14–30).Envy keeps us focused on ourselves; purpose points us to Jesus and his mission. Click To Tweet
Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
This is our mission as well.