The Treadmill of Envy

Pastor Mike had another excellent sermon on Sunday. He focused on the contentment the Apostle Paul learned in his spiritual journey. If you have not listened to the sermon yet, you have permission to pause reading this post and checkout the sermon on the website or the church app.

We live in a world that is consumed with the concept of more. Our culture invites us constantly to experience more good things in order to achieve our highest level of be fulfillment. Get more educated, get more money, get more technology, get more socially active, get more “fill-in the blank” then we will be more fulfilled. None of these things are necessarily evil. Yet, the problem with this ideology is the need for more can never be completely satisfied.

This ideology is particularly harmful when comparison and competition reign over our relationships with others. If I only had the job, house, car, spouse, etc. or my neighbor, then my life would be so much better. We quickly find ourselves on a treadmill of envy. Such a treadmill feels utterly exhausting to me.

Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” I find this passage hopeful because it is a soul condition that Paul learned. As Paul grew in his love for Jesus and sharing Jesus with others, acquiring the plentifulness of this world became less and less of a priority.

The spiritual discipline of simplicity has become a bigger part of my life in recent years. Instead of trying to acquire more, I have sought to focus on doing more with less. For example, I have discovered that I don’t need expensive and lavish vacations to enjoy time with my family, what I really want is more quality time. What we actually do or where we actually go together is almost irrelevant. Just yesterday, we played Rummikub at the dining room table together, and we had the best time. We experienced something of the joy of simplicity together.

I believe doing more with less is a much greater benefit to our souls than being consumed with getting more. What would it look like for you to get off the treadmill of envy this Lent?

In His Grip,
Mike Toluba

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