The Jealous Type

The Jealous Type

Are you the jealous type? I guess with me, it all depends. I am jealous of my time. I am jealous of my schedule. But other than that, I can’t say I really struggle with jealousy.

Oh wait, if I’m honest, I do have to admit I do get jealous when someone is being recognized for their work and they forget to mention me! That’s so embarrassing to admit. But I do get a little jealous when someone’s efforts are praised and it “seems” that my efforts are ignored. Ever felt that way? Yeah, I know, I’m the only one!

Jealousy isn’t something we talk a lot about because it usually hits too close to home for us. But the Bible says God is a “jealous God” and when God shows mercy on another tribe other than ours, it stirs jealousy in us. Good. Maybe that will wake you up about how you’ve taken the treasure of our Faith for granted!

Look at our lesson today in Romans 10:11-21; 11:1-2:

BRETHREN, the scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

I love how St. Paul puts all of this in perspective for us today. He insists there is “no distinction” between Jews and Greeks. And he insists that this is because “everyone” (I guess that includes me and you) who calls out to God for salvation, gets it!

But there are some real ramifications to all this equality! If there really is no group or tribe that is “special” then that means I am never allowed to treat anyone as inferior to me because they aren’t part of our “group.” If God really is going to save everyone who “calls on the name of the Lord” then St. Paul insists this means I HAVE TO help them know they need and can call on the name of the Lord!

So Paul wants these Romans, and us, to know that we participate in this destruction of privilege when we actively assume everyone around us needs to know the message of God’s love for everyone and that they can call on the name of the Lord just like we did! And they get to be a part of the Family of God just like us! Paul even goes so far as to tell the Jewish people in his audience that God has already promised to stir up some jealousy in their hearts when they watch as the “undesirables” get to be part of God’s family along with them! Paul warns these folks that just because they got a spiritual head start on everybody else doesn’t mean God likes them more than anybody else! It just means they have no excuse for neglecting the head start.

But, we humans are so predictable! Of course, we are going to take our gifts for granted. So, the Lord gives the gifts he gave them to another tribe that wouldn’t take them for granted; that would share them with others and not keep this treasure of Faith to themselves. Just look at how Paul ends our passage – “But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!” Paul says God has offered Israel His hand over and over again and they have been “disobedient and contrary.” Frankly, that sounds like me, and it sounds like so many in the Orthodox Church who have taken this treasure of the Faith for granted. They think they are Orthodox simply by the happy accident of their birth and they act like they deserve all the benefits of the Faith without any of the disciplines of the Faith in their own lives. That’s exactly like the Jews who have been disobedient and contrary. But has God abandoned His people? Pa=ul says “By no means.”

St. Samson the Innkeeper of Constantinople is one of the Unmercenary Saints of our Church. He was from Rome but moved to Constantinople. He was a practicing physician and so loved the poor and the needy, he helped everyone and never charged the poor for his services. That’s what “Unmercenary” means. St. Samson was so hospitable and caring for everyone no matter who they were or where they were from that even the Emperor, St. Justinian the Great, was ministered to by this physician. St. Justinian was so blessed by St. Samson, the Emperor had a hospital built in his honor and it was called “The Hospice of Samson.” Patriarch Menas was so blessed by St. Sampson, the Patriarch had him ordained as a priest of the Church. St. Sampson reposed in peace around 530 AD and was buried in the Church of St. Mocius the holy martyr. His free clinic served the poor as the largest hospital in the capital for 600 years.

Today, what if you don’t feel a twinge of jealousy when you see someone else really embrace the Faith you’ve taken for granted? Doesn’t that make you nervous? Perhaps you really have taken your faith for granted so long, you really don’t possess the faith anymore! Oh no! Don’t let this sad state of affairs continue! During this Winter Lent, become Orthodox on Purpose and tell others to join you!

P.S. In your patience, you have won your reward, O righteous Father. You persevered unceasingly in prayer; you loved the poor and provided for them in all things. Wherefore, intercede with Christ our God, O blessed and godly-minded Samson, that our souls be saved.

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  • MW Reply

    Winter Lent?

    June 27, 2023 at 6:29 pm

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