Choose a life that risks and gives


“Be the envy of your friends this Easter.” That’s how the apparel ad
read. Can you think of a greater oxymoron than encouraging someone to be
the envy of others on Easter? The apostle Paul wrote, “Let us not desire
vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
But for quite some time now, I have been noticing how many advertisers
hype envy in their marketing tactics. I really started paying attention to
the usage when the enV phone began its promotion, telling us the device has
“features that make everyone green with enV.” Since seeing those TV, print
and Internet ads, I have clipped or jotted down other envy-laced slogans for
various products and services. These include: “Your friends will envy your
long, luscious lashes… Get the job your friends will envy… Plan a
wedding your friends will envy… Have a tan your friends will envy all
summer long… These shoes will make you the envy of your crowd… It’s
the automobile all your neighbors will envy…”
Other products or services playing the envy card include photos,
bedrooms, bass fishing, buttocks, lifestyle, houses, pants, blouses, power
tools, crocheting, chocolate bunnies, education… you name it. Just this
morning I received an ad via e-mail from a well-known home improvement store
chain that began with the challenge, “Make your lawn the envy of your
neighbors.” This led me to Google the phrase, “Be the envy of your
friends.” It turned up 17,400 listings. Then I decided to Google the
shorter phrase, “Be the envy of…” This turned up 727,000 listings,
beginning with the phrase, “Be the envy of the sandbox.”
During this Easter season, as a white protestant Christian in Tennessee,
I share with you an insightful quote from a black Christian who is the
second most senior cleric in the Church of England. Dr. John Sentamu,
Archbishop of York, wrote: “Life is magnetic… That is why I believe people
rush to football matches. That is why they choose their sports heroes,
their movie stars… why they congregate in pubs and discos. They are
after life…. That is why many hunger for self-fulfillment and sadly end
up with self-assertiveness with little self-examination. This has created a
culture of cynicism, of blaming someone else, and the constant endeavor to
pull him or her down. So I beseech those inside and outside the churches:
choose life this Easter! Choose that exciting new life that risks and
gives. ‘I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance,’ says
Our Lord. And it is there gloriously offered this Easter.”
As I have mentioned to young people and adults at my speaking
engagements, there are two ways we can grow larger. One way is to simulate
growth in our minds by making others appear smaller. The second way is to
truly grow and mature as human beings and help others do the same. Dr.
Sentamu hit it on the head when he wrote that many people try to pull others
down. This is what envy does. Dr. Billy Graham said, “Procrastination may
be the thief of time, but envy is the murderer of souls.”
Various philosophers from different cultures and religions through the
ages have emphasized that envy is one of the greatest causes of unhappiness.
The unhappiness comes to those who say or do things to cause envy and it
comes to those who envy. (Dr. Graham said that when he was stung by a bee
it hurt him, but it killed the bee.) We celebrate and honor the reason for
Easter not by being the envy of others or envying others, but by serving,
helping and positively influencing others 365 days a year.
(c) Carl Mays is an author and speaker at over 3,000 events. To inquire
about his speaking to your group, contact or phone
865-436-7478. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, Winning
Thoughts, Anatomy Of A Leader, People of Passion, and Are We Communicating
Yet?, are available in stores, on and other Internet locations.
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