Image by Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

Around this time of year, an unwanted visitor makes its way into many a gardener’s life.

I’m not talking about weeds or pests, although we certainly have to contend with those.

Rather, I’m referring to garden envy.

It starts out when we’re visiting the gardens of friends or neighbours. At first, we admire their lush plantings and attractive landscaping.

If we’re not careful, however, this appreciation can morph into envy. We think, I wish I had roses as beautiful as hers. Or, if only I had room in my yard for a gazebo like he does.

This envy can then develop into disenchantment with what we have. Why am I stuck with so much shade in my yard? Why can’t we afford an inground pool?

We can even become resentful of our comparatively meagre gardens, when we should be grateful to have a garden at all: many people don’t.

Envy is something we need to nip in the bud, whether it relates to our gardens or our lives.

We get into trouble when we start comparing ourselves to others. This is true even in spiritual matters.

The apostle Peter learned this lesson after Jesus had been resurrected. Jesus was speaking with Peter and indicated to him what kind of death he would have.

Peter then saw that John, who was known as “the disciple that Jesus loved,” was trailing behind them. Peter asked Jesus, “What about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:22)

Some translations phrase Jesus’ words as: “What concern is it of yours?”

Jesus was essentially telling Peter that it was none of his beeswax what type of death John would have, or its timing. Peter’s business was to stay in his own lane and fulfill God’s plan for him, and not compare himself to the other disciples.

When we juxtapose our lives with those of other people, there will inevitably be areas where we think we fall short. But when we fall into the trap of comparison, larger problems can arise. We can become dissatisfied with what God has given us, and blame Him for what He hasn’t given us. This can lead to resentment of God: we think He’s holding out on us, or isn’t being fair.

But God knows what is best for each of us. He isn’t short-changing you. God’s plans for you are unique, different from His plans for anyone else. Trust that He knows what He’s doing in having given you the life you have.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5).

Oak tree. Photo by Hippopx, CC0.

You may know the old English proverb, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” It means that great things can arise from small beginnings.

It’s a positive saying, but the same truism can be applied in a negative way: From little seeds of discontent, mighty resentment and bitterness can grow.

Scripture tells us that envy can not only lead to disorder and strife, but can even be detrimental to our health:

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

So let’s not become green with envy. Trust that God loves us, and will always give us what we need. Let’s be grateful for the blessings God has given us, foremost among them the forgiveness of our sins through His Son Jesus Christ.

As the old song goes, “Who could ask for anything more!”

© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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