ODJ: More Difficult than Tears

July 29, 2018 

READ: 1 Samuel 18:5-11 

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).

When a family in our church lost their home to a fire, fellow church members sprang into action with clothes, shelter and gift cards. Then they helped with the painful process of sifting through the ruins to salvage valuables and memories. Our church put into practice what the apostle Paul instructed: “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

As I thought about Paul’s advice, I felt pride in my church. They had wrapped their arms around this family, literally and figuratively.

But then I remembered the first part of that verse: “Be happy with those who are happy.” That made me pause. As my church wept with a grieving family, I had noticed someone else who was enjoying a run of professional success—right when financial difficulties were hitting our family. Strangely, I found it easier to cry with someone in pain than to rejoice in the blessings of another. Envy is so subtle.

After David took down Goliath with only a sling and stone, King Saul appointed the young shepherd as a military commander. But Saul’s delight at bolstering his army’s leadership soon dissipated. As the army returned home from battle, “women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul.” They sang, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:6-7).

Saul had a choice: he could rejoice in his young superstar who had served him well, or he could envy the fact that David got so much praise. He chose the latter. For Saul, it was the beginning of a tragic end (28:17-19).

It’s vital to weep with those who weep. But equally important is the ability to rejoice in the blessings others receive.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: John 8:1-20

What does James say about wisdom, humility and jealousy in James 3:13-15? What does Paul say about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5? 
What does it mean for you to be happy with those who are happy and to weep with those who weep? How does envy reveal a lack of contentment in Jesus? 
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