In Genesis 29-30, we read about the children who were born to Jacob. And we see that his wives, who were sisters, had a competitive attitude when it came to children. It began when God opened the womb of Leah, because she was not loved like Rachel, and gave her four sons. She envied her sister because of the love Jacob had for her. And she felt that, because she had given him children, Jacob would finally love her.
Rachel, however, was barren and was jealous of her sister because of the children God had given her. So she gave her servant to Jacob as a wife that she might build a family through her. With this serpent, Bilhah, Jacob had two sons. When the second was born, she declared that she'd prevailed over her sister.
The competitive attitude didn't stop there. Because she'd stopped bearing children, Leah also gave her servant to Jacob as a wife. And with this servant, Zilpah, Jacob had two sons.
At this point, Leah conceived again. She bore two more sons to Jacob. And, again, she was convinced that her husband would honor her because she'd born to him so many sons.
Then, finally, God opened Rachel's womb and she bore a son. She would later have one more son before dying in childbirth.
We see in this that Rachel and Leah were jealous of each other. They envied the blessings that God had given the other. Leah envied Rachel and the love that Jacob had for her. And Rachel envied Leah for the children God had given her.
As we read this account, it seems almost ridiculous. We realize that Rachel should have thanked God for the blessing of a loving husband. And we realize that Leah should have thanked God for the children he’d given her. But, instead, they focused not on the blessing God had given to them, but on the blessing given to the other.
Even knowing that all we have is a gift of God, we often struggle in the same way. Even though God has richly blessed us, we envy the blessings God has given to others. We completely overlook the blessing God has given us. We aren't satisfied with the grace God has given us. We want even more.
Some women, who struggle to get pregnant, envy those who have several children. Mothers with many children sometimes envy the freedom of those who have no children. Mothers who work outside of the home envy mothers who are able to stay home with their children. And mothers who stay home with their children envy those who have an outside career..
Even though they have a great job, men will often envy others who have a job with more responsibility, or a job that pays more. Even though God has given them a nice home, they envy those who have a bigger or nicer home.
We even see this in ministry. Even though God has called them to serve him in ministry, which is a great honor in itself, some pastors become envious of others who serve in a larger congregation or who have more exposure.Instead of being envious of one another, we should rejoice in the ways that God has blessed others. And we should be thankful for the many ways in which God has blessed us. Why God chooses to bless us in one way and someone else in another, we can't be sure. But, regardless of the reason, our own blessing is absolutely sure.