15 Apr 2016
We are going through the virtues listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, as explained in the essay by the late Henry Drummond in his classic essay entitled, The Greatest Thing in the World. Every month we are looking into a virtue of Love. Previous posts delved into Patience and Kindness. Today we look at the virtue written on the heart of God: Generosity. We need look no further than John 3:16, to understand that Generosity is at the center of God’s being. “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son…” Certainly, for us to emulate God in this regard is indeed a virtuous endeavor.
1 Corinthian 13 says it in a negative way, “Love envieth not” or as Drummond writes, “Envy is love in competition with others.” Love that is envious and competitive, even in Christian circles is not God-centered virtue, but rather self-centered love driven by Pride! It is hard for us a sinful human beings to be happy when others succeed. Be honest! When we see others hit the “lottery of life” most of us are envious and wonder why WE didn’t get that promotion. It is even worse and more sinister when we see someone in our chosen field of expertise move ahead of us with honors and advancement. This is not exclusive to secular society either! Pastors of churches stare with envy at the mega church, TV pastors or other congregations that are growing while their church attendance declines.
To combat this is the spirit of love, generosity and magnanimity. To be truly happy for someone else’s success is a sure sign that the Love of Jesus reigns in our hearts. We must take our identity and self-worth, not from our paycheck, business titles or praise of men and women, but from the real belief and experience that Jesus valued us so much that He gave His life for us. He placed a value on us that was worth His life. Why would we need anything else to validate our egos? Live with this knowledge in our hearts and live with calm and adequacy.