Tag Archives: Ecclesiastes 4

The green-eyed monster


How easily it arises. As I was reminded on the weekend.

At a friend’s house talk turned to solar panels for electricity generation. He’s getting some installed. We got some last year. As he talked through the decisions he had to make, he explained about the inverter – the box that does the clever stuff to make AC electricity. I can guarantee you that I know nothing about this.

But when I heard that he’d opted for a ‘solid state’ system because it is more efficient than the usual ‘transformer’ system, I admit I was jealous. I caught myself thinking, ‘I want solid state.’ Despite not having a clue about what this means!

The wise teachers of the Old Testament know the folly of envy.

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.
(Proverbs 14:30.)

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbour. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4.)

Most significant of all, envy killed Jesus. Envy of those around him at that point in history – but also envy, I believe, from me and from all humans. We are unsatisfied with being the individuals God made us to be, and we desire to take the place of God himself. In our envy, when unchecked by grace, we seek to remove God himself.

For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. (Matthew 27:18.)