Bad to the Bone

Advent 2012: Setting Captives Free

…from envy to gratitude                   

Photo by Null Value

The sheriff and his deputy drove back to the Jacob’s farm to join the investigation already in progress. As they pulled on to the property, they spotted some of the local news reporters congregating next to the yellow crime tape.

The sheriff checked himself in the rearview mirror, grabbed his hat and exited the car. His deputy rolled his eyes, anticipating what would happen next. Sure enough, the sheriff swaggered over to the reporters and began making a statement before they even had a chance to ask any questions.

“At approximately 6:55 this morning, we discovered the resident, Mr. Henry Jacobs, mortally wounded from a gun shot to the head. His next of kin have been notified and we are now in the process of determining whether or not this is a murder or a suicide.”

“Do you have any leads or suspects?” asked one of the reporters.

“Not at this time, but we do consider his wife, Mrs. Carol Jacobs, a person of interest,” he answered. “That is all the questions I’m going to answer at this time,” and with that, he ducked under the crime tape and headed toward the house.

The deputy stayed behind hoping the reporters would ask him some questions. But when one of them announced they had just received a tip that the victim’s wife had been admitted to County hospital, the entire group jumped in their vans and sped away, kicking wet snow and gravel all over the deputy’s clean slacks. He swiped away at the gray slush and cursed under his breath.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:20

Advent Application:  We all struggle with envy and jealousy at some point in time in our lives. A neighbor buys a new car every other year, while we continue to drive our clunker. A friend marries our former girlfriend while we spend our nights alone, chatting online and eating cereal for dinner. The deputy struggled with envy over the sheriff’s status and the respect he received from the community, not to mention his huge salary.

But scripture says we need to live in peace and that if we struggle with envy, we will become dead inside. Jesus’ parents had reason to be envious. They could have been jealous of those sleeping in homes, instead of being left to sleep with the animals. They had been told that their son was going to be the Messiah, so why in the world would they end up giving birth in a feeding trough? Jesus, too, as he began his ministry could have been envious of everyone who lived in nice homes with the wife and kids, instead of being homeless, running around with a bunch of misfit followers. But Jesus knew the secret to wholeness and happiness was contentment, living in gratitude for what his heavenly Father provided for him. Read Matthew 6:25-34 to get Jesus’ perspective on how to live in contentment and experience true peace and joy. Make a list of things for which you are grateful.

To read this story from the beginning, click here.

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