I offered the challenge to my learners. We’d been looking at the depth and extraordinariness of love that is described in I Corinthians 13:4-8a. I wondered aloud with them about how amazing God’s love is for us and all of the qualities it is marked by. The list is astounding – it is patient, kind, it doesn’t envy, boast or is proud, it never fails …
As we reflected, I was pondering my own love and was challenged in my spirit about the ways that my love for others does not line up with God’s love for me. Out of the love God has demonstrated to me, He asks, even requires, that I love others in a lavish way. Just as His love is extravagant, so mine is called to be. As I asked Jesus where my love falls short, the line “It does not envy” hit me right between the eyes.
Far too often, I live with a jealous love. A love that does not revel in the delights of others, but a love that observes and then pouts because that same blessing has not been granted to me. It’s not a quiet, unobtrusive pout either. It’s a full on, ostrich hanging off the lip kind of pout. I envy. I’m jealous. I’m frustrated with God that those same circumstances have not come into my life. While my eyes are completely fixated on my own selfish mine moments, I miss all the of the blessings that He is pouring into my life.
I was also reminded that every time I say “Mine,” I am claiming ownership, staking my possession. God set me to rights again about my feelings of control.
“I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.” Psalm 50:9-11 (NIV)
“But why would I want your blue-ribbon bull, or more and more goats from your herds? Every creature in the forest is mine, the wild animals on all the mountains. I know every mountain bird by name; the scampering field mice are my friends.” Psalm 50:9-11 (MSG)
My God is completely unlike the seagulls in Finding Nemo. While all they see is an opportunity to claim a meal, my God is reminding me that He is really and truly the One who is the Creator of all things. He formed each unique creature. He gave them all their wonderful quirks and idiosyncrasies. He created each amazing habitat. Nothing was beyond the scope of His imagination.
Every time I stamp my foot, demanding my share, I tell Him it’s not enough. He didn’t live up to my expectations. Since when have my expectations ever stood up to the immensity of who my God is? Instead, He’s placed me in this moment and in this time for a specific purpose. He’s placed the people in my life that He is asking me to rub shoulders with. He has granted me more blessings and provision than I can ever truly understand. He’s asked me to steward those blessings in such a way that His name is lifted high and praised. Because absolutely none of it is mine. It is most certainly all His. My every breath, my every opportunity, every gift, talent and moment is meant to be lived bringing glory to His name.
I pray for open hands. Hands that will loosely hold what I have been given with an eye to ways that it can bless others. I pray for eyes that are open. That I will see the needs and concerns of others. I ask for ears that hear, so that as I see needs, and listen to my God’s generous heart, I will obey as He calls me forward. There is no Mine. There is only His.