Wednesday, February 02, 2005

trap of comparing

I’m always amazed at how little it takes to trip me up. A dashed expectation, an unexpected request when I have my day all planned, a comparison that shows me in an unfavorable light.

That last one happened to me on Monday. I came across a message of a writing acquaintance in the forum section of an e-zine. (We had formerly met when we shared a prize in a contest we’d both entered.) On Monday I read his reply to the editor’s question about what he’d been doing. His successes over the past few months included a contest won, a book finished, this set of articles sold to one magazine and that to another. The list went on and on. On top of that, I know he teaches school full-time!

In the few seconds it took me to read his post I became totally deflated. Why wasn’t I finding those opportunities, venturing boldly out into new markets, at least having some doors I was pushing on, open to me. I turned back to what I was doing thoroughly dissatisfied and not a little jealous.

And then I heard a small voice: "Did I ask you to do any of those things?"

I had to admit, no. I hadn’t even been aware of the opportunities.

Like the servants in the story Jesus told (Matthew 25:14-30), God has given me and my colleague different talents and opportunities. Someday He will ask me, not what I did with what I was never given, but how I handled what He did give me. My success will be measured not against the successes of others but by my faithfulness and obedience to what I know He asked me to do.

I want this to be my motto: "But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor." Gal. 6:4 - Amplified

After all I am working, not for the applause of people, but for my Master’s "Well done."

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