25th Sun A
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
The core on this parable turns on the question: ‘Why be envious because I am generous?’ Envy is a frightful habit of the heart. It is not the same as jealousy. Jealousy makes us fear that we will lose something that we love: spouse, children, possessions. It makes us hold them too tightly. Envy resents the good another has simply because they have it and we do not. In our delusion, another’s good fortune spoils our happiness. Envy breeds resentment and together they make us greedy. I recently read of a study that showed that a significant component of what many people thought would make them happy was having a bit more than people around them…but when they do get that bit more, they then notice others who have a bit more than them and the cycle of envy, resentment and greed goes on with the people never achieving what they wanted: happiness.
We are made for happiness and that is what God desires for us. Our misplaced needs and unrealistic desires, which are fed by the clever and creative advertising that saturates our world, undermine the habits of the heart that will truly give us happiness and contentment.
Central to the pursuit of happiness is recognition of the generosity of God towards us. The old-fashioned advice to count one’s blessings is a truly profound and an amazingly effective means in transforming our outlook on life. Yes, at times we experience tragedy but that isn’t what stops us being happy. What stops us is not appreciating what we have already received. As we become grateful, we become generous. Only when we are generous, like our generous God, will the cankers of envy and resentment be overcome within our hearts.