DON’T BE ENVIOUS

Rodney Howard Browne

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, `You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, `Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ “`Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, `You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, `Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. `These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16 NIV

God is calling for laborers to work in His vineyard. He even tells us to pray for laborers in Matthew 9:37-38. “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” There is plenty of harvest waiting to be reaped. The Lord needs more of us to hear and heed the call to be His voice and His hands in the earth today.

We are each a part of the body of Christ. Even though we have differing functions, we are all equally important in the grand scheme of things. We all have a place in this world and it is important that we do what God asks us to do – that we perform our function and meet our responsibilities. We need to forget about who gets paid what and we need to concentrate on pleasing God and doing only what He has asked us to do.

The Lord rewards us for whatever we do that He has asked us to do. He does not judge one ministry as better or more important than another. He rewards us according to our obedience, not according to the size of our ministry. He is not a respecter of persons. Romans 2:11 says that, “there is no partiality with God.” God is impartial. He treats us all the same. If we labor in His vineyard, He will bless us all the same.

In Matthew 20:11-12, the laborers who were hired first, grumbled against the landowner because, at the end of the day, he paid everyone the same wage even though they had worked all day and others had worked a shorter time. Some of them had only worked for an hour! They had agreed to the wage and had no right to complain. They were envious because the landowner was generous!

We have no right to be envious just because God is generous. God rewards us all the same. As we obediently work to do what He has asked us to do – He will reward us accordingly.

GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER WHOSE HEART IS IN HIS GIVING

2 Corinthians 9:1-15 NIV

Verses 1-5 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints.

2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.

3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.

4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we-not to say anything about you-would be ashamed of having been so confident.

5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

 

We must adjust our attitude about our giving. Our gift (offering) must be given generously and willingly – not extorted, not wrung out of us.

Verse 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

 

If we sow sparingly and grudgingly, we will also reap sparingly and grudgingly. If we sow generously – in order to be a blessing – we will also reap generously and with blessing.

Verse 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

Make up your own mind – purpose in your heart to give. You decide – you choose – when, where and how to give. Not reluctantly, not sorrowfully, nor under compulsion. God loves, takes pleasure in, prizes above other things and is unwilling to abandon, or to do without a cheerful, joyous, prompt to do it giver, whose heart is in his giving. God is not pleased with a grumpy, selfish minimal giver.

Verse 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

 

For the generous cheerful givers – God is able to make all grace – favor, earthly blessing – come to you in abundance. So that you may always, under all circumstances and whatever the need – be self-sufficient. You will possess enough to require no aid or support and you will be furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation. When you are a generous, cheerful giver – you will lend and not borrow. You won’t need anyone to help you, but you will be the one who has and who gives to those who have a need.

Verse 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 

 

The benevolent person scatters abroad – he has a lot to give to a lot of people. He thinks of others and gives to the poor. His giving amounts to deeds of goodness, kindness, benevolence and justice. His giving has eternal consequences – the results of his giving go on and endure forever.

Verse 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

 

God provides seed for the sower and bread for the eater. God will provide seed and also multiply your resources for giving. If you are a giver – God will get stuff to you to give. He will increase the fruit of your righteousness. The fruit of your righteousness is active goodness, kindness and charity. The more you give – the more good and kind and charitable you become. The more good and kind and charitable you become – the more you give. It’s a wonderful cycle of blessing and increase in every area. Giving will change your heart for good. Make a decision to give and keep on giving – you will get free – you will begin to enjoy your life!

Verse 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

 

God will bless you and enrich you in all things and in every way so that you can be generous. Your generosity glorifies God – it brings forth thanksgiving to God.

Verse 12-13 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

 

People will glorify God for your loyalty and obedience to the Gospel of Christ and for your generous-hearted liberality to them. You can say that you believe the Gospel, but your giving proves that you do.

Verse 14-15 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

 

God’s gift – Jesus – eternal life – is free. But we Christians must decide to be a part of bringing this Gospel – free – to all those who have yet to hear!

DO NOT ALLOW A ROOT OF BITTERNESS TO SPRING UP

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 

 Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV

 

Other people may do and say things that we don’t like, but we are not responsible for them. We are not accountable for other people, but we are accountable for ourselves. We are accountable for our own behavior and attitudes. We are responsible for our own responses. We cannot change other people, they must change themselves, but we cannot allow them to affect or influence us negatively either. We must choose to walk in peace, no matter what choices the other person makes. If you allow someone else to make you angry and if you fight with them then you have given them power over you. They have the power to provoke you and get a response out of you. But if you refuse to respond in anger and you keep your emotions under control, then you will have the power and be in control of the situation.

 

The grace of God is extended toward you and others, alike. If you think that other people are your problem, then you will become angry toward them and if you do not deal with those emotions, you will become bitter toward them. Realize that your emotions are your own responsibility. Most times other people don’t even know that they have done anything to you to offend you, but you have allowed yourself to be angry with them and then this anger turned into bitterness. Bitterness is a root that will grow into a tree that will cause trouble for you and will cause you to be defiled. Ultimately, bitterness will bring destruction to your own life – not to anyone else’s.

 

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:22-32 NIV

 

Bitterness is listed here with rage, anger, brawling, slander, and every form of malice. God tells us to get rid of it. There are people who are angry and bitter against someone. They never miss an opportunity to tell others what this person did to them. They continually sing the “somebody done somebody wrong song”. But the problem is that they are the only ones who are all messed up. The bitterness on the inside of them is destroying them. They have opened the door to sin in their own life, while they criticize the other person. Your bitterness eats you up on the inside and it opens the door to the devil in your life.

 

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:1-5 NKJV

 

Bitterness, criticism and a judgmental spirit go together. You are in dangerous territory when you judge another person, because you are setting a standard by which you will be judged. Critical, judgmental people always have big problems of their own. Either they are sinning themselves, or they open themselves up for sin to take control of them. Even if we are in a position where we have to help another person straighten themselves up, the Bible tells us to be very aware and careful of our own attitude even as we bring a correction to theirs.

 

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Galatians 6:1 KJV

 

You need God’s grace in your life on a daily basis. Don’t hinder His grace by allowing bitterness to have control of you. Stop the cycle and forgive and release whomever it is that you are bitter against. God will forgive you and His grace will be extended toward you.

 

HEALING SCRIPTURES

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed ? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.  Isaiah 53:1-4 KJV

 

Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:4-6 KJV

 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  Isaiah 53:7-10 KJV

 

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:11-12 KJV

 

When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Mathew 8:16-17 KJV

 

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  I Peter 2:24 KJV

 

God’s Word is spirit and it is life. God’s Word brings healing to every aspect of our lives. God’s Word will only work in us when it is IN us. We must meditate on His Word and we must confess His Word. His Word must become real on the inside of us and then it will work in and through us.

 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.   Romans 8:11 KJV

 

If you need healing in your body you need to meditate on God’s Word. Even if your body is healthy and strong, you need to build up your faith in the area of healing. Take these scriptures and meditate on them every day. Read them, think about them, speak them out loud, and God’s healing power will begin a work in your body.

 

 

CHILDREN ARE A HERITAGE OF THE LORD

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.  May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel.  Psalms 128:1-6 NIV

 

The man who respects, honors and reverences the Lord and walks in his ways is blessed, his wife is blessed and his children are blessed. He and his wife are blessed with many children and they also live long enough to see their children blessed with children.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.  Psalms 113:9 KJV

 

God is the One who blesses us with children. If we want children, we can stand on His promises that say that He will bless us with children. Not only does He promise to bless us with children and make us mothers, but He will make us joyful mothers as well. Bearing children and raising them is a joyful experience if it is in the Lord.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.  Psalms 127:3-5 KJV

 

God gives children to us. They are a blessing, a reward and an inheritance (birthright) from the Lord. We should always value and treasure them as God-given. Ultimately, they belong to God – He gives them to us for a season and He expects us to fear Him and to raise them to fear Him. He expects us to raise them and to teach them so honor and serve Him. He expects us to love them, to teach them that He loves them and to teach them to love Him. We are to teach them, train them and prepare them for a godly life and then to launch them out as arrows from a bow.

 

If you want your arrow to fly straight and hit the target, you must take time to prepare it perfectly. You cannot rush it. The arrow must be perfectly straight, with no cracks or splinters. The point must be sharp and the feathers must be perfectly placed and attached. When it is ready to fly, the bow must be pulled back all the way. The arrow must not be released before its time or it will fall short of the mark. We must carefully nurture and train our children and release them only when the time is right. Feeding them, clothing them and housing them are not enough. We must teach them about God, about life and how to live godly lives.

 

When they are fully taught – we must not hang onto them, but release them to fly into the future that God has planned for them. If we do not teach them properly and if we send them out before their time or unprepared, they will not go very far or do very much good with their lives. How can you help others when you can’t help yourself? If we do teach them properly and if we send them out prepared, they will go far and they will be a blessing to many wherever they go. Their lives will count for God and they will make a difference in eternity.

They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127:5 NIV

 

A righteous man, by raising godly children, strengthens not only his family, but also his family’s position in society. There is unity in a godly family and therefore there is strength. The enemy that tries to contend with them is confounded and defeated.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Matthew 18:5-6 NIV

 

God holds us responsible for the spiritual welfare of our children and we should not take that responsibility lightly. Father God blesses us with our children and we are responsible to raise them in such a way that we can present them back to Him with joy.

 

The blessing of children