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Envy? Never a problem for Jennie until now. Just days before spring break, the pre-teen moved with her family to a new state and a new school. As she was escorted into her new classroom with a member of the school staff just before lunch, she cringed.
What a terrible time of year to be the new kid! What a terrible time of day to get here!
Mrs. Green acknowledged Jennie and told her where to sit. That was the first and last time Jennie had her attention. The teacher’s concentrated on the lesson, upcoming lunch, but also Cassandra who sported a new cast around a recently broken leg. All the students had signed it in bright marker colors.
“Ronnie, will you get Cassandra’s crutches for her, please!”
“Terry, will you catch the door and hold it so Cassandra can go out first?”
Shortly after, the class left for lunch in the cafeteria. “Mike, will you hold Cassandra’s tray while she chooses her lunch items?” the teacher requested.
Shy Jenny clutched her lunch bag and tried to find a place to sit. No one invited her. She timidly asked a few girls, but they didn’t answer. It was as if she were invisible. Jennie went outside to a picnic table to enjoy the quiet and the sun. But it was lonely. At her old school, she had always been surrounded by friends and fun activities. This is going to be a long year.
Then there was practice for the spring skit and sing-along. The teacher called out, “Don, set up a chair center stage and help Cassandra there. We’ll stand behind her. “
Always Cassandra. It didn’t stop there. During the first afternoon in class, Jenny noted the teacher’s most frequently used words were help Cassandra this and help Cassandra that.
The pretty girl with the shoulder-length wavy hair gets more attention than a US President. Jennie noted, And it’s always the cute boys, too. Wish they’d notice me.
By the time a week had passed, things were no better. Jennie began to wonder if things would improve it she broke a leg and needed help. But like most schools in the southwestern part of the continent, there were no stairs to fall down.
And how can I get just a broken leg?
Jennie’s envy completely by-passed the real facts: a broken bone is painful, bringing about much change and dependence in getting around and taking a lot of time to get better with physical therapy. While Jenny could go swimming and get a sun at the water park as soon as it opened for the season, Cassandra’s badly broken leg would keep her out of the pool for much of the summer. Jenny would be trying out for basketball while Cassandra would struggle to overcome a limp.
There is a reason that God’s commandments include #10: Do not covet. (Exodus 20:17].
The expanded version reads, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” [NIV] That would include a cast signed in colorful markers and the attention it reflected.
Think on these pairs in the Bible and the envy and jealousy that divided them: Cain and Able; Jacob and Esau, Haman and Malachi; Saul and David; Joseph and his brothers. Envy just doesn’t cut it as a way to live and handle conflicts.
Instead, in Jesus’ own words, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33]
What things? Besides physical needs like food and clothing, it means seek out God first in every area of your life for his help. You serve, trust and obey him, and he meets all your needs, including love and attention.
How much better is that than a broken leg?
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and her recent Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. She is author of several other books, including new release Bring on the Blessings of Baskets ~ Easy, Fast, Personalized and Outreach Ministry Gifts. Amazon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]