The 3 Best Defenses against Gift Envy
As Christians, we receive specific gifts from the Holy Sprit, spiritual gifts. And sadly, gift envy strikes here as well. Rick Warren explains spiritual gift envy like this: “Gift envy occurs when we compare our gifts to others, feel dissatisfied with what God gave us, and become resentful or jealous of how God uses others.” If you’ve been a leader in ministry for any length of time, you’ve no doubt seen or experienced gift envy to some degree.
Previously, I talked about three ways gift envy can annihilate your influence as a ministry leader. So what do we do to work through the gift envy we see to prevent it from happening in the future? Well, here are a few things that I’ve found that can help:
1) Understanding: Help people understand their gifts and how to use them. Use a spiritual gift assessment like the one LeaderTreks has created. It’s also helpful to pair a spiritual gift assessment with personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DiSC assessment, or my favorite, StrengthsFinder. These can be a huge benefit for people struggling to know themselves, their gifts, and how to use them.
2) Praise Them All: Often, the flashier gifts get all the praise. As a leader, make sure you praise all the gifts, publicly and privately. Let those with the gifts of prayer, faith, administration, or hospitality know they are just as valued and important as anyone on the team.
3) The Right Role: This year I had each member of my team share with me their strengths, their gifts, what they love about their job, and what they hate about their job. It gave me a great opportunity to talk about getting people into the right roles, doing the right things, and playing to their strengths and gifts. We are most susceptible to gift envy when we are working in roles that don’t allow us to freely use our gifts.
Remember Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul knew the danger of gift envy, so he shared with the Corinthian church—and with us today—this encouragement:
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. … If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. … There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
About the Author
John Vandervelde serves as the Executive Pastor of Glen Ellyn Bible Church in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. He and his wife, Kari, have been married for 15 years and have five children. When he’s not at the church or chasing his kids around, John enjoys running, biking, and competing in triathlons.