How Envy Left the Room

red giftEnvy crept into the room.  Its tendrils stealthily slid around ankles and started climbing towards hearts.  Swift decapitation and subsequent dissipation reigned swiftly by a generous open hand.  Ugliness transformed to gratefulness with a few words.

I spent last week at a conference for people in similar ministry positions–the MK Caregivers Consultation.  Of the two consultations I often attend in any given year, this is my favorite.  It’s a rich time of networking and generating ideas.  Once in a while it’s a time where I have to work at keeping envy out of my heart.

Two years ago one of the missions presented their dream and their plan for discipling their kids long distance.  They inspired me.  I spent time figuring out how to make it a reality for “my” kids around the world.  Countless times I sat down to work on writing curriculum.  Countless times I was interrupted and distracted.  I moved it to the back burner; I haven’t had the time or energy to work on it.  I wanted to do it, but I’ve had a hard enough time keeping up with what I need to do without delving into what I want to do.

Last week representatives from that same mission gave a report.  They told how they implemented it two years ago with facebook groups, how they changed it to their own server this year, how 5th graders are the most consistent Bible readers, and how successful this program is.  It was simultaneously exhilarating and discouraging.

Looking around the room, I could see I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.  Some were sitting on the edge of their seats, leaning forward, and taking notes.  Others slumped in their chairs and fidgeted with their pens.  It didn’t take a great detective to know envy was beginning to permeate the room. Most of us know we don’t have the time, personnel, or financial resources to make this dream a reality.

A few people started asking questions.  One finally asked about time commitments from the administrator, from IT people, and other things about servers and code.  My eyes wanted to glaze over, but I knew if any chance existed of ever getting this together, I needed to pay attention.

While hope still tenuously held onto my heart, I heard, “There’s good news!”  I thought, “Good news?  I like good news!”  He continued, “For us, it doesn’t matter if we have 10 groups or 1,000 groups.  So, we’re opening it up for you and the kids in your mission.  For free.”

With a few words envy died and hope flourished.  It took a heart attuned to the big picture and an open hand.  I promise my eyes threatened to leak when the enormity of this mission’s generosity began to penetrate my heart and mind. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

Generosity and shared vision kicked envy out of the room.  Will it ever come back?  It might, but I don’t think it will ever take up residence.  I minister with a group of people who share a great vision.  We know we’re all working towards the same goal.  We know none of us can do it alone.  We know that shared passion doesn’t mean equal resources.  We also know we’re a community committed to our God, our goal and each other.  It’s unbeatable.

How has generosity made a difference to you?

photo courtesy of happyture

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5 Responses to “How Envy Left the Room”

  1. CherylApril 11, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Wow. This is beautiful, Soul. I’m so GLAD.

  2. judy levanApril 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Thanks for writing this. I was there……..and I so agree! We have to acknowledge the reality of our enemy and how he wants to destroy, divide and conquer. Generosity, openhandedness and care welcome in the Spirit of God.

  3. SherylApril 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Soul, I’m so glad, too. It was a beautiful thing!

    Thanks for stopping by, Judy! I have no doubt that God was there last week and that he won.

  4. MeredithApril 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    awesome…I’m excited to hear more about this! you’re a wonderful writer.

  5. SherylApril 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Thanks, Meredith! Are you coming up here any time in the next few weeks? I’ll have a general email going out when I have all the details of the program, but I’d love to tell you all the details of the story when I see you. 🙂

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