Coveting Day 5: Coveting Others’ Gifts and Abilities
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8, ESV)
If only I was as good at praying for people as she is; I can’t even remember to pray at all, let alone for other people.
Why can’t I share the love of Jesus like he can? I always feel too awkward to bring it up in a conversation.
How does she always remember what’s going on in other people’s lives? I feel like I don’t even care about other people sometimes.
Have you ever said these things, or something similar, to yourself? I would guess that most of us have. One area in particular that affects the lives of Christians, especially those who are a part of a local church, is coveting others’ gifts and abilities. We look at the gifts with which God has blessed those around us and we feel inadequate, useless, like we’ve failed. Praise God that’s not how He sees us! He created each one of us to be useful for Him and to display the love of His Son. He redeemed us for that purpose.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as he chose. … Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:14-18,27).
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
When we covet what other people have, we rob God of our usefulness for Him in serving alongside other people, even the ones whose abilities we covet. The focus is not on one of us, nor even on all of us—it’s on Jesus, the One we magnify when we put our God-given gifts and abilities to use. God’s purpose for us is that we honor and serve Him alongside every believer with each gift and ability He gives.
Much like how we should exchange the coveting of others’ physical traits with gratitude, we should thank God when we see the gifts and abilities in others. Each of us who has been saved by God’s grace is a part of the body of Christ, and each of us has the potential to be useful for Him. Instead of wishing you were better at praying for others, thank God for the people you know who are diligent in prayer and ask God to help you be the same. Instead of wishing you were better at sharing Jesus with people you meet, praise God for those who do it well, and ask Him to give you the help to do it more. Instead of wishing you cared more about others, thank God for the caring and compassionate people in your life, and ask Him to give you a heart more like Jesus in that way.
No matter how gifted someone else may seem, none of us is perfect; we are sinful people trying to represent a perfect Savior. But thank God that, even when it seems like someone else is stronger or more able, it’s in our humility and weakness that He can pour His grace into us and enable us to represent Jesus.
I pray that as we move forward, we’ll embrace the attitude of the apostle Paul: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).