Music and the Spoken Word

The Abundant Heart - Sunday, February 5, 2017

It takes a special kind of person to find joy in another person’s good fortune. Sadly, it’s far more common to be resentful, bitter, or even offended when something good happens to someone—anyone—other than ourselves. We call this attitude envy, and as an old Danish proverb suggests, “If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill.”1

Why does this happen? Why do we resent the talents and successes of others—even of people we love? Perhaps part of the reason is the world we live in, where the value of things and even people is often determined by comparing them with others. Maybe we secretly worry that blessings and happiness, like the world’s tangible treasures, are in limited supply—that there’s only so much good fortune to go around; therefore, praise and accomplishment for one person must mean less for us. Jeffrey R. Holland put it this way: “As others seem to grow larger in our sight, we think we must therefore be smaller. So, unfortunately, we occasionally act that way.”2 No, nothing good comes of an envious way of life.

By contrast, think how much joy and enjoyment are available to those who overcome the tendency to envy! They enjoy the freedom that comes from contentment. They take pleasure not just in their own good fortune but in every good thing that happens to every other person they know. What’s more, their capacity to love and serve is deeper. They love without measure. Because their hearts are not crowded with envy, they are free to genuinely care about others. Because they are not threatened by another’s success, they are free to help others succeed.

So what is the cure for the widespread fever of envy? Perhaps it begins with gratitude to God for the blessings of life. Nothing produces peace and contentment like a grateful outlook. Humility and generosity of spirit are also great antidotes. As we humbly count our blessings, our hearts can expand to applaud the blessings and accomplishments of others. If envy is characterized by smallness, a miserly approach to life, then love is characterized by abundance of the heart, which grows in the fertile soil of humility, generosity, and service to others.

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. In John R. Stone, comp., The Routledge Book of World Proverbs (2006), 129.
2. “The Other Prodigal,” Ensign, May 2002, 63.

February 5, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,560

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

“Give,” Said the Little Stream
William B. Bradbury; arr. Ryan Murphy

Rise Up, Arise (excerpt), from St. Paul
Felix Mendelssohn

The Ash Grove
Welsh folk song; arr. John Longhurst

Lead, Kindly Light
John B. Dykes; arr. Mack Wilberg

When You Wish upon a Star, from Pinocchio
Leigh Harline; arr. Michael Davis

Redeemer of Israel
Freeman Lewis; arr. Mack Wilberg