Are there sometimes you have found yourself envious of some people – at home, or at work? Envious because the sun and spotlight seems to be shining on them while it has paled off on you on the sidelines? People who seem to be zooming up the ladder of success and progress in record breaking time? You wish your life could be like theirs because they have so much going for them, so much privilege?
Our scripture for today lands us in Daniel, Chapter 6. One of the most common stories from the Bible.
Daniel 6: 1 – 28 (MSG)
I would love for us to pick this story from the perspective of Daniel’s coworkers, 122 of them (2 vice regents, and 120 governors). A story of 122 people going out of their way to scheme against Daniel, driven by this four-letter word – ENVY!
Envy can make you:
- Sign up for an MBA in Strathmore when you feel nothing for it because someone else has signed up for it (yet you are meant to be studying something totally different).
- Move houses to a leafier neighborhood to keep up with someone – even if it bursts your budget and throws you in debt (and your life is reduced to working to meet an expensive life while your dreams die off).
- Push your kids into something they are not (play a sport, play an instrument, go for swimming – destroying not just your purpose, but theirs as well).
Later you realize that you were so busy running someone else’s race and had no time to run your own. And your purpose explodes! It is interesting that the 122 officials and their families ended up dead. In the same den, the lions did not even wait for them to land. A clear picture of what happens to us when out of envy we run someone else’s race – the end and death of our own.
Here is what sets Daniel apart from his coworkers:
- Daniel knew his source: (Dan 6: 8 – 12)
- Daniel ran his race: (Dan 6: 16)
- Daniel ran at his pace: (Dan 6: 28)
The Psalmist understood something when he made this prayer . . .
Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
A life of purpose is not a competition!