And the women sang to one another as they made merry, “Saul has killed his thousands,and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribe thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?” 1 Samuel 18:7–8
When is being a king not enough? When is having a loyal and successful servant such as David not enough? When are your own impressive accomplishments not enough? Apparently, when you are filled with jealousy and rage. Saul was the first king of Israel. He had led numerous successful military campaigns. He commanded the respect and devotion of men like David who would have willingly given their lives for their king. But Saul became incensed when he heard the cheers of his people—and the recognition that David’s triumphs on the battlefield were greater than his own. Somehow, Saul could not appreciate people cheering his own accomplishments, because they seemed less than David’s. For some reason, Saul missed the fact that David’s victories were his own as commander and chief. Saul was jealous, and jealousy wound up eroding his common sense.
Everyone will discover that there is someone in the world with more impressive accomplishments or greater possessions or better looks. There is always someone greater than ourselves. We can either become jealous of that reality or we can be thankful for who we are and what God has allowed us to do in life. Life is not a competition, and it is best when there is cooperation. How different our communal existence would be if we celebrated all the accomplishments within our human family as if they were our own. When one of us does well, the entire family is blessed! The good deeds of others should fill us with joy, not jealousy.
Are you a jealous person?
Lord, it is an embarrassing truth, but there are times when the accomplishments of others perturb me. In fact, I can feel more satisfied with someone’s failure than with their success. It is because I am jealous. When someone does something great, it makes me feel oddly diminished. I know this is wrong. I should not begrudge the success of others—I should celebrate it. You have given me thousands of reasons to be thankful in this life—it makes no sense to be jealous of those people who appear to have tens of thousands of things to be thankful for! Help me to gain perspective. Calm my jealous heart. Remind me that my worth is not calculated against the achievements of others. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. AMEN.