Maybe it’s because we just got back from vacation. Or maybe it’s because it’s almost August – my perennial hell month at work. This week has just been hard. It’s been one of those “I-wish-I-was-living-anywhere-else-doing-anything-else” kinds of weeks. I’ll admit it — I’m longing for greener grass.
I don’t know about you, but when things are going badly I find myself comparing my life to other people’s lives and wishing for greener grass. Maybe it’s a normal reaction to hardship, but it certainly isn’t healthy or helpful. I generally end up feeling worse about myself and my circumstances – not a good place to be.
Wishing for Greener Grass Is Covetousness
When we think of covetousness, we often limit our thinking to material things – houses, cars, etc. But what about coveting someone else’s circumstances? Wishing that you had a job like theirs, or that you didn’t have to work at all? Maybe you covet the freedom that someone else has because their kids are grown, or maybe you covet the fact that they even have kids.
When times are tough, there are any number of ways that we can compare our lives to other people’s lives and feel like there is greener grass in other pastures. But comparisons like these don’t help our situations and they don’t make us feel any better. So, where do we actually find greener grass?
Finding Greener Grass
I Corinthians 12 reminds us that there is great diversity in the lives that God has given us. That diversity – our gifts and personal circumstances – are uniquely our own. Just because our lives don’t look like our neighbors’ lives doesn’t mean that the grass is any greener for for them. Their pastures are just different.
Everyone has struggles – but not the same struggles. And everyone has gifts and blessings – but not the same gifts and blessings. By changing our perspective, we can see that our own grass may actually be pretty green, just in different ways.
You may struggle with a difficult work situation, but your health is great. Another person may have the perfect job and plenty of money, but they struggle in their marriage. The fact is nobody has a perfect life. We all have parts of our pastures that aren’t so green.
I Corinthians 12 tells us not to covet another’s gifts or circumstances. Instead, it ends with these words of encouragement:
But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Some translations say to “covet” the greater gifts – referring to spiritual gifts. Let’s put our covetousness to good use and if we have to yearn for anything, let’s yearn for the greener grass of greater spiritual gifts and maturity.