Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Stories in the Small Spaces of Scripture
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves.
A father gives a gift of a special coat to his favorite child.
Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme.
Your brother who always got the bigger piece of cake.
Your sister who got the new clothes for school and all you got was hand-me-downs.
The new car.
A later curfew.
More visits during college.
Nicer wedding or baby shower.
Theodore Roosevelt was right, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
And yet, what is the malady that ales so many of us in contemporary culture if not comparing our lives to others. It is no longer just the Jones next door with the car or vacations. It is our friends on Facebook. It is that picture or post on Instagram. It is daily moment we all have the fear of missing out (FOMO). After all, we know life is short. And if we don't get ours while the getting is good, we lose.
Why do we see life as a balance sheet?
Why does someone else's joy immediate mean that there must be less joy now in the world for us?
We treat everything as an exhaustible resource that if someone else has, that automatically means we do not.
You don't have to have been standing there with the brothers that day in the desert to know this story is true. We all know the sandy taste of jealousy on the tip of our tongue. We are surrounded by people who gold plate their broken lives so as to appear better. We are surrounded by people who spend money on the car as if it is proof that they are not the same smuck like the rest of us. In a culture that not only compares but where consumption is really where we are told our identity, we stuff our life with stuff.
Why did Joe get that coat...was it because of the "bad report" we reflected on in the last post?
Why did Joe get that coat...was it just a gift of a dad on the edge of getting older?
Why do we want that coat...is it to make us feel special and set apart?
Let's say again, the Bible is an adult book written for adults. When we relegate these stories to the stuff of Sunday School, we miss the profound power they have for our very lives.
Be honest about the jealousy you feel....don't try to hide it underneath words, "Good from them," said through clinched teeth.
Be honest about the jealousy you feel...because it is only in expressing that we can take away some of dysfunctional the fuel that is feeding deep within us all.
Be honest about the jealousy...not because God demands, rather because God delights when we are finding ways to seek our hidden wholeness and nothing can shadow our wholeness more than jealousy.
Be honest and may there be more than a trace of God's grace in that moment.