Love Does Not Envy (3 of 14) | Devotions with Dad

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Love Does Not Envy (3 of 14)

For DAD Only:

Many Shades of Green

Don’t you hate it when your kids fight? They yell, “But I want the blue crayon!” “How come he got a new bike?” “When will I have a birthday?”

Unfortunately, we Dads do a lot to set up these conflicts. In particular, the spirit of envy creates a green haze of frustration in the home. Dissatisfied Dads spawn dissatisfied children. We must clear our hearts of any jealousy or envy that crops up. (Just for the record, envy is the desire to have another’s lot in life. Jealousy, however, is a desire to regain the position that another took from you. Another similar sin, covetousness, sports a desire to have the things that others own.)

Dads can become envious of a co-worker who gets the idolized corner office. Or, we may glare at the person who takes the ministry position at church we thought God had told us we would have. Sometimes our carnal nature tempts us to be envious over petty things like who gets your parking spot.

Promoting Conflict. We teach our children to envy when we say things like, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” C’mon, Dad, let’s think that one through. Do I really want my son to be like his sister?

Such statements fuel the fires of tension between siblings. No, George won’t be like Johnny, and Sally won’t be like Suzie. And provoking my child with such concepts will only make him hate his sister rather than try to live up to her model behavior. Besides, people who study these things say that the perfect child usually gives more grief to the parents in the young adult years than the rebellious teenager did. No one is a perfect role model.

Your Last Wish. I can’t foster a worldview of “I wish” among my children. The little girl wishes she could be a princess. The boy wishes he had his own four-wheeler. The beauty queen wishes people would leave her alone. The genius wishes he were more coordinated at sports.

I tell my kids often that they don’t need to worry about being someone else. Concentrate on being yourself. You have qualities no else has. You have natural talents and skills that make you unique. If you were like everyone else in this world you wouldn’t be necessary.

But I can’t just say it. They have to see that I am content with how God made me (which is much different than being complacent about my flaws). If they hear me complaining about not being like this person or not having what the Jones have, they will imitate that behavior quickly. If Dad is thinking “Wow, look at his new job, paycheck, car, house, money, ox, wife…” then I can’t expect my kids to be satisfied.

Don’t Envy, Be Happy. The root of envy is discontentment. An envious person thinks he’s been cheated in life. A contented person accepts others because he has accepted himself. Most drug abusers and other troubled people that I have ministered to have gotten into their messes because of self-dissatisfaction. Then, self-disappointment leads to a life of crime.

After I reconcile with my strengths and God-given opportunities, I must help my children embrace their uniqueness and accept their differences. I can start by not making them be what they aren’t.

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Dad, read this story with your kids:

Me, Too!

“Dad,” Rusty said as his father came home, “doesn’t Misty need to stay home tomorrow and help clean the house?”

“I don’t know, Rusty, why?” Dad asked, closing the door.

Misty said, “Shoshanna’s parents are taking her to the zoo and she wants me to come along. They are paying. And it would be a lot of fun. And if I say no, she will ask someone else. Can I go? Please?”

“What, what, what, what?” Dad said. “Slow down, girl.”

“Shoshanna invited me to go to the zoo with her tomorrow.”

Mom looked at Dad and raised an eyebrow.

“How have her grades been?” Dad asked. “Has her room been kept clean?”

“Grades good,” Misty said, “room pretty clean.”

“Hmmm,” Dad said. “Well, will you behave?” Misty nodded and bounced up and down. “You promise not to feed the bears?” Dad asked with a wink.

“I’ll be on my best behavior. And I won’t ask them to buy me anything.”

Dad looked at Mom and shrugged.

“Okay,” Mom said, “but you will have all your chores done tonight and your room spotless before you go.”

“Okay, okay,” Misty said as she bounced out of the room.

Rusty leaned up against the counter and asked, “Can I go, too?”

Dad put his hand on Rusty’s shoulder and said, “Well, Son, they didn’t invite any of us. I like monkeys and giraffes, too, you know.”

Rusty’s shoulders slumped and his head hung down.

“Hey, you’ve been there before,” Dad said.

“I know, but they have a new elephant show I want to see.” Rusty sighed and walked toward the hallway. “I wish someone would take me to the zoo,” he said as he went to his room.

Rusty closed his door and sat on the edge of the bed and rested his chin on his bedpost. He sat there moping for a while until someone knocked on his door.

“Yeah?” Rusty asked.

“May I come in?” Dad asked.

“Sure.”

Dad came in and sat down on the bed. “Rusty, can I tell you a story?”

Rusty shrugged, “I guess so.”

“Did you ever hear about what happened to Hasty the Hot Pepper?”

A slight grin tugged at the corner of Rusty’s mouth. He shrugged, “No.”

“Well, let me tell you about it…”

Bouncy the Banana jumped up and down on the playground. “Hey look, here comes Lippy!”

“What’s so exciting about a Lemon?” Hasty the Hot Pepper groaned.

Pushy the Pear explained, “Now we have enough players to play ‘kick the walnut’!”

Lippy the Lemon hopped over to where his three friends stood. “Hey, guys, I’ve got a new toy.”

“All right!” Bouncy said.

“No fair!” said Hasty.

Pushy ran over, “Let me see! Let me see!”

Lippy held up his new toy.

“Oh wow,” said Bouncy, “that looks like a pretty neat piece of, uh, green rubber.”

“It feels kind of flabby,” said Pushy.

Hasty smirked and said, “Whatever it is; it looks like it’s already broke.”

“I’ll have you know,” Lippy said, “that this is a balloon.”

“No way!” Bouncy said, “that’s a balloon? Wow, I never thought I would see one up close.”

“I thought balloons were bigger and rounder,” said Pushy.

“No,” Lippy said, “this one needs air. I thought we could blow it up and instead of playing ‘kick the walnut’ we could play ‘catch the balloon.’”

Boy, I wish I had a balloon, thought Hasty the Hot Pepper. How could I get that from him. Hey, I’ve got an idea… “Hey, Lippy, I’m good at blowing up balloons, let me help.” Hasty grabbed it from the lemon and started huffing and puffing air into.

“Wow,” Bouncy said, “you sure know what you’re doing.”

Hasty blew and blew. When the balloon was almost full, he said, “Guys, look over there! I think I just saw another balloon blow down the street. Run! See if you can catch it.”

Lippy, Bouncy, and Pushy all ran where Hasty had pointed. As soon as they turned their backs, Hasty the Hot Pepper ran the other way with the balloon. He puffed and puffed, blowing it up as he went. At the other side of the playground, he tied the end of the balloon shut and ran up a hill.

“All right! Now I have my own balloon,” Hasty said to himself. Suddenly, a strong wind swept along and picked up Hasty and his balloon. “Oh yeah! I think I filled this with hot air! I am flying now!”

Lippy and the others came running back to the playground just in time to see Hasty flying up in the air, over their heads.

“Hah! I got your balloon, Lippy! Now I am going for a ride!”

“Hey!” Lippy yelled.

Hasty just laughed. Suddenly the wind turned. “Whoa!” Hasty yelled. “Help, I’m going to hit that tree!” And he did. The balloon hit a sharp branch and popped. “Hey, guys, help, I’m stuck!” he yelled.

Lippy, Bouncy, and Pushy had to call the fire truck to get him down with the long ladder.

“So now you know what happened to Hasty the Hot Pepper” Dad said.

“That’s pretty crazy,” Rusty said. “It was just a balloon.”

“And, Rusty, it’s just a trip to the zoo.”

Rusty sighed, “I know.”

“But that’s just the way envy is, Son. We can get carried away, wishing we had someone else’s good fortune. But we will only crash and hurt ourselves.”

Rusty nodded.

“So, how should we respond when someone has something good happen to them?”

“Be happy, too.”

“That’s how you would want Misty to be if you were going to the zoo, right?”

“I guess so.”

“So maybe you can think of some way of showing your sister that you are glad for her.” Dad patted Rusty’s knee. “I don’t want you to feel sorry for yourself when other people are blessed. Envy is a sin, Rusty, and we can’t let it live in our hearts.”

Rusty nodded.

“Let’s pray together.” Dad put his arm around Rusty and bowed his head, “Lord Jesus, we don’t want to be upset when you do nice things for other people. You’ve done lots of nice things for us already. We want You to know that we are thankful. Thank you for letting Misty go on a fun trip tomorrow. Amen.”

Rusty sighed and began, “Lord, I’m sorry I was only thinking of myself when Misty told us about the zoo. I want her to have fun. Please keep her safe tomorrow. Amen.”

Dad patted Rusty on the back and walked to the door, “Supper will be ready soon, so don’t be long.”

“Okay.”

After Dad had left the room, Rusty walked over to his shelf and picked up a small, black zipper case. He carried it out the door and knocked on the door to his sister’s room. “Misty?”

“Yes?”

“I’ve got something for you.”

She opened the door. “What?”

“I thought you might like to use my new camera at the zoo tomorrow.”

Misty looked down at the black case and back up at Rusty. “Are you sure? You trust me with it?”

Rusty shrugged, “Would you like to use it?”

“That would be cool!”

Rusty smiled, “Okay, just be careful. Here, let me show you how it works.”

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Why do you think Rusty was upset about Misty going to the zoo?

Have you ever envied someone because they had good grades, more money, or lots of friends? What other things might we envy people for?

Although your children will mention those who “have other things” or “nicer toys”, these things really fall under covetousness, a similar sin.

Rusty sinned by envying his sister. In the little story, the hot pepper did wrong, too, when he envied the lemon for having a new balloon. What other sins did he commit because of his envy?

Lying and stealing.

Does God want us trying to copy others? Does He want us to take on the image of the world or His image? Why?

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Read the following scripture with the family:

Murderous Envy

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.

Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.

And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”

He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”

Genesis 4:1-12. New King James Version, © 1983, used with permission.

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What other sin did Cain commit because of his envy?

Murder.

What was Cain upset about?

That God favored Abel’s offering.

What does it mean to have a fallen countenance?

To hang your head down and feel sorry for yourself. To stick out your bottom lip and pout.

How should we handle it if someone gets picked for the part we wanted in a church play or drama?

What if someone is really rude and brag about how much more special they are?

Real Life: Give something special to one child (the least envious) and not the others. Do this for each child for the next few days until everyone has a chance to feel and overcome envy.

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Take some time to color with your youngin’s:

Coloring Corner

Color the picture of Hasty the Hot Pepper flying away on a balloon. Go to https://devotionswithdad.com/1-14Coloring.pdf and print “fit to page” for a bigger picture. What happened here because of envy?

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Memory Verse:

I Corinthians 13:4

Charity suffereth long,

and is kind;

charity envieth not…

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