Kermit the Frog, here.
Years ago Kermit, the only huggable frog (all others are prone to slime and hopping about), sang a song about his amphibian pigmentation problems, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” [This was before the word “green” had been entirely swallowed up by the environmental crowd.]
Here are the lyrics (sung to the tune of, ummm, “It’s Not Easy Being Green”):
It’s not that easy being green,
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that.
It’s not easy being green;
It seems you blend in with so many ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over ‘cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky.
But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree.
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be.
Kermit is humble and honest and, eventually, “at home” with being green. Green is who he is and, even though his life lacks splash and sparkle and “standing outness,” he circles back to peaceful contentment. It may not be easy being green for Kermit, but he wears the “ordinarity” (yes, I made up another word) of his “greenness” with poise and quiet dignity.
Oh how I wish I could be more like Kermit. You see I wear a different green and it is decidedly not easy being so. It is the greenness and the meanness of envy.
It is odd, in this Christian life, how easily I tumble into envy. Greater gifts desired; larger crowds to hear; more cooperative saints to sustain; brighter lights to illuminate. The discontent of green burrows its way deeply into my spirit and slaps leg irons on my will, crippling my capacity for service in the Kingdom, all the while pointing me toward others, more nobly and selflessly engaged in this thing called ministry.
Envy strangles contentment; envy buries joy; envy blinds my eye to the beauty of the ordinary; envy misdirects me away from God’s plan for me and down the path of coveting His plan for another; envy derails my capacity to celebrate others’ work for the King.
Just today, in the car, en route to my “ministry central,” I was railing at God about His distribution of various things ministry. [By the way, it is easy to rail at God in the car, as long as you are alone therein and occupants of the other cars don’t think you’re railing at them.] I know I disappoint Him; I disappoint me.
Shakespeare, in Antony and Cleopatra, branded envy the “green sickness” and it is just that–a cancer, if you will, corrupting my “spirit cells” with its rapid advance and willy-nilly ravaging of my spirit’s health…taking no prisoners and offering no benignity. Envy is pernicious and pervasive; it simultaneously winds me up and wears me out.
I’ve written before about John the Baptist and his capacity to diminish himself and point people to Jesus (John 3:30). I have that all backwards. I think, if I am honest (“TBH” in social media speak), I want Jesus to point people to me and have them fawn in awe and wonder. Sigh…“What a wretched man I am.”
“Envy slays the simple” (Job 5); “envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14); “envy…defiles” (Mark 7). Yep, it does.
I have to see, somehow, that God’s call on my life is not to be better than somebody else (or be someone else), but to be the best “me” as He empowers and enables. This is not a Lowe’s, “Let’s Build Something,” self-help campaign (as much as I would like it to be). No, this has to be an Apostle Paul type effort: a “working harder…yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10) acknowledgement that only He can slay the green dragon within me.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalm 51:10-12).
© All rights reserved. Scripture from the NIV, Zondervan.