Written by cycleguy on July 11th, 2013


Have you ever found yourself green?  Not as in angry like the Hulk.  Not as in green from riding a coaster (or for me something that goes in circles).  But green for another reason?  Listen to this story:

The ancient Greeks tell of a swift athlete who came in second.  He stood at the finish line, huffing and puffing as the crowd cheered-not for him, but for the winner.

The second place finisher had to stand there as they brought the victor’s crown and other prizes.  He had to stand with the other also-rans as congratulatory speeches were made in the victor’s honor.  And he had to walk through town to reach home, hearing nothing but the name of the winner on the lips of everyone.

The victor had a statue erected in his honor, right in the center of town.  The second-place finisher had to see it every day of his life, and he came to think of himself as a loser.  The envy and jealousy began to take charge of his soul until he could accomplish almost nothing from day to day.  Why hadn’t he been the winner?  Why hadn’t he been able to find within himself those two or three strides that separated the champion from the chump?  Every night he crept out into the darkness and made his way to the victor’s statue.  There he chiseled away a few more bits of stone from the foundation.  Each night the great marble figure was weakened.

But one night he got more than he bargained for.  He chiseled away one more bit of stone, and the massive athletic figure cracked loudly and slid forward.  The great marble champion crashed down on the little man with the chisel, and death came instantly. The athlete had been crushed by the very image of the man he’d despised.

It isn’t too far-fetched to realize he wasn’t crushed by one “chipping” incident.  It was an accumulation of chiseling.  Sort of like what envy and jealousy does to individuals.  It weighs heavily upon the soul, often leading a person to do or say something that brings harm.   We will say someone is “green with envy.”  I’ve even heard it said, “Jealousy is a green-eyed monster.”   Envy and jealousy are twin killers.  The longer they fester, the deeper they cut-the greener they get.

Envy and jealousy are toxic to our faith, as well our well-being.  This Sunday I plan to use this verse as the basis for the message.  I really want to show how the Bible promises we can be free from ‘being green.”    I’d appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

Meanwhile, do you struggle with envy or jealousy?  Has it ever gotten so bad it clouded your vision?


24 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I don’t tend to struggle so much with either envy or jealousy. Sure, from time to time I may feel a pang, but these feelings tend to pass quickly enough.

    I loved the story you shared with this one. Really quite vivid.

  2. I really don’t recall, but I’m sure there has been times.

  3. Zee says:

    There are times when it consumes me, but thankfully, God has taught me to cheer for my friends…

    As I read the story, I thought – how often I feel terrible because I was *second* – when I could’ve been last?

  4. Phil says:

    I don’t struggle with it but would be lying if I said I’d never had envious or jealous thoughts at one time or another. Cool story to describe the dangers.

  5. the Old Adam says:

    All the time.

    I envy other people’s ‘good’ families and kids. I envy other people’s ‘good’ situations and jobs.

    I’m asking the Lord to forgive me those sins many times a day.

  6. floyd says:

    The race in life isn’t with others, it’s with ourselves. I’m competitive, always have been, but I don’t see how someone doing something better than another at a particular endeavor takes away from a person’s genuine uniqueness.

    When I see people succeed or get things I’m happy for them. I know that those victories are monumental in the moment, but minuscule in the long run.

    When another person gains the desires of their heart not only am I happy for them, I’m happy for me. It means whatever the task or goal, it’s not impossible and I too can have the same thing if I so desire to work and persevere with passion toward that goal… and they tend to leave a trail on how to get there.

    We should be grateful, not jealous… It really is all about perspective. To be able to have excitement inside for others accomplishments is a peace that comes from Above.

  7. floyd says:

    Oh, I got carried away there and forgot to share with you that I’m praying for you. This is a crucial need in the church; to find peace regardless of our circumstances.

  8. Betty Draper says:

    Oh yeah, especially on the mission field. To some learning a new language came easy, I was not one of those. So yes I struggled with envy often. Can’t remember hating those that were good, even glad someone could learn easily. At times I still struggle with envy over most of my friends having their own house. In all these struggles the only thing I have learned to make envy go away is being thankful for them and for the talents and things I have. A thankless life breeds envy, bitterness, anger and a host of other nasty emotions. Good story, very applicable.

    • cycleguy says:

      It is easy to allow material things steal the joy we should have. Your key is praise and thanksgiving for what you have. Glad you have found it.

  9. Michelle says:

    Good post Bill. I missed reading your posts. Our little blessing keeps me on my toes! I struggle with envy because I still do not understand how God can love me as much as the person who does more than I do. I am in constant fear that I am not doing enough for God and I envy those who “have it all figured out”. I am praying for your sermon.

    • Ike says:

      I understand what you are saying Michelle. We move away from the gospel of God’s grace and begin to try to relate to God directly on the basis of our performance rather than through Christ.

      It doesn’t matter if you are Billy Graham…Cycleguy…or Spurgeon. There is absolutely nothing in any of us to cause a righteous…holy God to love us. Grace-grace-grace…God’s unmerited favor to those who deserve only His wrath. You are in good company Michelle:-)

      BTW…if you can tell me someone who “has it all figured out”…I would like to meet this person.

    • cycleguy says:

      That feeling is one of law not grace Michelle. Easy to fall into that trap, but grace is so freeing. Thanks for coming by again and hope your little blessing is growing.

  10. Debbie says:

    I’m with Betty .. found out that being thankful kept the green away! So glad that He always makes a way for us. God bless you, Pastor Bill, as you share this message with your congregation.

  11. Kari Scare says:

    I struggle with envy & jealousy when I get caught up in comparing myself to others. I have written a lot about comparisons because they have hung me up so mich in the past. It has not only clouded my vision but severely blinded me at times. So thankful for victory in this area as I learn to let love conquer and to quit “going high school.”

    • cycleguy says:

      That’s the whole key right there Kari: comparison of any kind. It is a constant battle for some. I like that last phrase of yours. 🙂

  12. Just like Kari, I struggle when I compare myself to others. I’m very competitive. It’s something I hate about myself, but it’s just ingrained into my sinful nature. It’s one of the biggest sins I war against.

    • Kari Scare says:

      I’m not sure competitiveness is something to “hate” in yourself. God put it there for a reason… this is on my list of topics to meditate on and search out in scripture. God has something for us in this idea of competitiveness, something that is quite prevalent today.