Summary: This sermon deals with the explosive power of jealousy in a Christmas context.
Just A Little Jealousy
Today we begin to observe the season of Advent. Advent means the coming of Christ to the world. It can refer to the first time Jesus came which is Christmas, or the second time he will come which will be the second coming of Christ. Have you ever asked, why did Jesus come the first time around?
What do we mean when we say that He came to save the world from its sin? The reality is that Jesus came to save you and me as individuals from the things inside us that have separated us from God. Sin is when we do what we want to do, regardless of what God has said about something.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, there is one sin that is going to ruin it for a lot of us. We find it creeping into people’s lives in the Bible, and we find it creeping into our lives in a variety of relationships that we have.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you first started to like somebody. One of the first things you wanted to do after you found out they liked you was to put your exclusive claim on this person. You wanted to say that’s my girlfriend or that’s my boyfriend. If someone told you that someone else also liked the person, you’d almost be ready to declare war on that person. At first a little jealousy seems like a good thing, because it makes the other person you love feel special, but a little jealousy can quickly grow into a monster that will destroy both people.
Envy and jealousy are two of the secret sins, in that they dwell on the inside of us and we can pretend that they are not there but they are. Envy and jealousy are not the same thing. I want you to imagine two little boys, Bob and Fred. Each day Fred has five cookies and Bob has three. Fred is the most popular guy at recess because he has the most cookies. Bob is full of envy because he wants just as many cookies as Fred has if not more. Fred is jealous of Bob, because he fears that Bob will one day have has many cookies as he does and win over the recess crowd
Envy is to want something which belongs to somebody else. Jealousy is the fear that what we have, will be taken away by someone else. Jealousy can show up in all kinds of situations. We can be jealous at our job, jealous of someone on the team who might take our place, jealous of our possessions, but most often our jealousy focuses in on somebody stealing the affection or love we have from another person.
In our Old Testament reading we met Saul. Saul was the first king over God’s people. Saul had come from a very humble background and was at first embarrassed by the thought of becoming king, because he felt so unworthy. When it came time to present him to the people, he was hiding in the baggage because again he just did not feel worthy of the position. But he became king and did a very good job of leading the nation and of leading his armies.
But Saul had a streak inside of him that caused him not to want to listen to others. He especially wanted to change the rules that God gave. Twice he disobeyed God’s explicit orders. The last time, the prophet Samuel told him, “God has rejected you and given your kingdom to another.” From that time on, a little jealousy begin to creep into Saul. He was afraid of losing what he had. Whenever somebody with a lot of potential would rise up with potential for leadership, Saul would put him in a position where he could keep an eye on him, just in case.
God blessed Saul by sending a remarkable young leader to serve in his army. This young man was fully devoted to Saul and would gladly have risked his life for his king. He did so in his personal challenge to the giant Goliath. The young man’s name was David, and David did all that he could to support King Saul. He went into battle after battle to fight the king’s enemies. All the people were happy with King Saul and with David the king’s commander in chief.
And then it happened. One day coming home from a huge victory, the people welcomed David into the streets. The women were dancing and making up songs. Somebody came up with the phrase, Saul has killed his 1,000’s but David his 10,000’s. When Saul heard it, a little jealousy set in. Saul said, “the people give me 1,000 but to David they give 10,000. What more is left for him, except the kingdom.” That little jealousy over the years had been growing. Saul never ever again could see David for the blessing that he was in his life. Jealousy blocks out the good a person may do, and we only see what we want to see, and a lot of time what we see does not exist.