Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! -Romans 12:16 (NLT)

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. -James 4:1-2 (NIV)

One of my favorite stories from Dr. Seuss is “The Sneetches.” It is, like other Dr. Seuss stories, packed with insight on human nature, in just a few pages, and with great illustrations and wordplay.

So, the Sneetches are fictional animals that look a lot like walking summer squash (the heavy side down), with beaks kind of like ducks. And, like all Dr. Seuss characters, they have expressive eyes with eyelashes to convey emotion. They socialize on the beach, but only with others possessing similar attributes.

A very familiar tale

As the story goes, some of the Sneetches have stars on their bellies (the star-bellied ones), and others had “none upon thars” (the plain-bellied sneetches). The star-bellied Sneetches turned up their noses at the plain-bellied Sneetches, who moped and envied their star-bellied cousins. Year after year, the haves would exclude and look down at the have nots. It was the perfect storm of discrimination, resentment, self-exaltation, and rejection.

Enter the tempter

One day, a salesman named Sylvester McMonkey McBean came to the beach, and he saw the situation. He told the plain-bellied Sneetches that he was known as the Fix-It-Up Chappie, who could create a Star-On machine that would affix stars on their bellies…if they’d pay for it.

Of course, they did, and then all the Sneetches looked alike! The newly-minted star-bellied Sneetches told the original star-bellied Sneetches that they could no longer be excluded, since they were all the same!

The lure of exclusivity

McBean then goes to the original star-bellied Sneetches and lets them know he can make a Star-Off machine to remove their stars, since stars are out of style…if they’d pay for it.

Of course, they did, and now the plain-bellied Sneetches felt superior to the star-bellied ones!

The escalation

Neither group wanted to be excluded, so they kept paying their money to McBean, going into one machine to remove their stars, and then to the next machine to add their stars when they saw the others had stars! Finally, they ran out of money. McBean left in amusement with a huge pile of money, saying “you can’t teach a Sneetch.”

Brokenness and enlightenment

But oh, McBean was wrong. When the Sneetches had nothing left, they could look at each other–whether or not they had stars upon thars–and see that no one was better than the other. They learned to live in peace and harmony.

Are we Sneetches?

Is our life here on earth no different? Satan wants us to believe we have to have this or that, and having something makes you someone…better than another. And many Christians fall into that trap as well.

The truth is: We have the love of God, Who gave His son so we may have everlasting life (John 3:16). He loves us so much that He calls us Children of God (1 John 3:1). He provides for us all we need, which obliterates our worry (Matthew 6:25-34).

We are called to love one another as God loves us (John 15:12). We are called to make Him known to the ends of the earth, and He is with us always (Matthew 28:16-20).

We have it all. Let’s live like it!