And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind - Ecclesiastes 4:4 NIV
As a kid growing up, I loved to read Aesop's fables and the messages that they taught. One of my favorites was the Dog and the Shadow which appears below:
A dog, crossing a bridge over a stream with a choice piece of meat in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that
which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.
My brothers, does this fable sound familiar when we examine our own lives? Please allow me to explain in greater detail. How many of us will look at other men and become envious of the gifts that God has blessed them with and aspire to be just like them? Like the dog in the fable, we will ignore the gifts that God has provided and start on a senseless and fruitless quest to emulate the object of our jealousy. When this happens, the quest oftentimes results in disaster; we don't get to become like the object of our chase and we lose what we have in the way of gifts and talents. Like Solomon stated in the scripture above, this results in a meaningless chasing after the wind. I don't know about you, but I haven't met anyone yet that has been able to chase and catch the wind. When you try to become like others because you are motivated by envy, in a way you are questioning God who created you in His infinite wisdom. He knew you before you were formed in the womb and has provided you with the gifts and talents necessary to glorify Him. All that you need to be the best you is residing inside.
Men, let's start today by taking inventory of our talents and gifts that our Creator has so graciously blessed us with begin using them to glorify Him and change the world around us. Let's focus on our individuality and embrace it as opposed to looking at others and secretly wishing that we could be like them. They are those of you that read this blog that I know on a personal basis and am familiar with your talents and gifts and know that you have the ability to affect change. My prayer is that you and those that are reading this that I may not know start using your gifts to become a change agent in your circle of influence.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.