Last week, I had a friend ask me a great question. But first, the backstory:
A year ago, I self-published my first book, The Jumbo Shrimp Gospel. I sold a little over 50 copies, and from the feedback I’ve received, I’m estimating that each copy has been read by at least four people. So, several hundred people have read the book, and all the feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve never been deluded into thinking that I would ever write a best seller. I just wanted to produce something that followers of Jesus would benefit from, regardless if it was twenty or twenty million.
In addition to writing JSG, I was asked by my buddy Vince to help edit the early drafts of his newest book, Guerrilla Lovers. The book has done tremendously well. Vince and his publisher paired the book with some free resources as well as a website for people to interact and share their stories resulting from the book. His first book, I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt, not only wins the award for longest book title ever, but was an amazing success. Vince just started work on his third book, and again asked me to help with the early edits. Long story short, you should really pick up one of Vince’s books.
Now to the question…
My friend, knowing all of the above, asked me a simple question: “Do you ever get jealous?”
There was a time when I would have been. I’ve always struggled with pride. When I started Discovery Christian Church back in VA, I was certain it would become the next “it” church. I was convinced I would be leading a church of 1,000 or more before I was thirty, that I would be asked to speak at conferences and write books. None of it materialized. We broke 100 people on a Sunday one time in my eight years leading the church. I would hear of a newer church starting in the area that would grow to several hundred people in a short amount of time, and I would get discouraged. It took a long time for God to get my attention and show me the importance of simply being faithful to Him and contentment. When we transitioned the church to a network of house churches, I was finally at peace with not being the biggest and the best. I just wanted to be involved in what God was doing, and helping others advance the kingdom, regardless if I got any credit or not. Looking back, it was only through the Holy Spirit’s working that my attitudes and actions were changed.
So the answer to my friend’s question? No, I’m not jealous of him at all. I’m just excited to help a buddy advance the kingdom of God.
How have you experienced jealousy, and how did you deal with it?