The Comparison Game

The Comparison Game

The past week my social media feed has been overwhelmed by the number of live-streamed ministries. I’m guessing yours has been too! Some of them have been simple recordings off a phone or tablet and others have been high-tech productions.  And if I’m honest, REALLY honest, as our team was prepping for our own virtual launch I was feeling a TON of pressure to produce something studio worthy and have it stream on a hundred different platforms we weren’t even on.  I was tempted to spend tons of money that we didn’t have, so we could have a nice polished ministry broadcast so people would think we were something we aren’t!  My friends, I have been living in sin.  The sin of comparison! Comparison is the thief of joy and the fuel that feeds our insecurities’ flame.

In an age where everything we do is online for all to see, the comparison virus is in full swing! It’s more contagious than corona and spiritually more dangerous! What a cruddy way to live! It’s like being in junior high again! In a day and age where corporate worship has left the building and saturated the social media feeds we have to come to a place where we are ok with who we are in Christ and what God has called us to do, not what he is calling the ministry down the road to do.  We have to actively reject the temptation to compare and envy or compare and criticize.  Let’s not let our own insecurities and pride keep us from being fully effective for the Kingdom of God when never before have we had a better opportunity! Look at what scripture says:

In Matthew 25 a master passes out money and leaves.  Each of the servants get a different amount.  The first two took it and invested it to expand the fortune.  The third one sat on it and missed the opportunity.  Notice, in the parable, they were rewarded or punished not for what they had, but what they did with what they had!   The owner didn’t come back and say, “you only had one? How dare you!”  Likewise, he doesn’t say, “you have ten, well done!” My friends, we are judged by what we do with what we have, not by what we have!  In God’s economy, the faithful large ministry with more resources won’t be celebrated more than the faithful small ministry barely making it! Faithfulness is the plumbline – not numbers, polish, or platform!

Take heart!  God sees the faithfulness of your heart and of your resources and celebrates over you!  You can only do what you can do.  Mark 4:26-27 reads, ““The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day he sleeps and wakes, and the seed sprouts and grows,”  He scatters seed and then he goes to sleep!  Do the things the Lord has asked you to do, and then go to sleep!  Busyness does not equate to godliness and obedience.  In the same way, stepping back and resting when God has asked you to lean in and hit it hard, isn’t self care, it’s disobedience.  Be of good cheer!  God is judging your heart and your faithfulness – not your social media footprint.

In John 21 Peter gets his marching orders from the resurrected Jesus.  In the midst of their conversation he turns and points to John and asks Jesus about him. John 21:21 reads, “When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  In our more prideful moments we look at Peter and think he has to be crazy to ask that, but in our more honest moments how many times have we looked over our shoulder and questioned someone else’s calling and wondered what they’re doing – in envy or a critical spirit?  All the while Jesus is saying to us, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”  Often I find my mouth, like Peter, saying, “yes, Lord! You know I love you!” But my actions betray me and are asking, “but what about him?  Am I getting my fair share?” Instead of being faithful with the calling that God has placed in my life, I’m busy worrying if I am keeping up with someone else with a different calling.  If we spent more time watering our own relationships with God, working in the harvest field of our callings and not worrying about what others have or do, then the grass wouldn’t look greener on the other side.

I can only imagine that Peter was tempted to worry if Jesus loved John more?  I bet John was tempted with comparison after he was the only apostle left alive.  Surely, he was tempted to fear if only he was more obedient he wouldn’t be the only apostle who didn’t die naturally.  Insecurity comes to us all.  Comparison can ruin any relationship and any ministry moment.

If Christ isn’t enough for us with a small ministry, no staff,  and a shoddy production team, then he will not be enough with the little blue check mark next to our name on social media and our own YouTube channel. Jesus is not as concerned with our quantity and quality in ministry as much as he is about our identity in him.

If we find ourselves trapped in the chaos of comparison, there are two things that help provide clarity: identity and calling.  Who am I in Christ?  What are his promises to me?  What am I called to do right now?  Am I being faithful to those things?

Be a worker in the Lord’s harvest.  Let’s not waste time looking to our left or right wondering if we’re enough or second-guessing ourselves because other workers have more or less than us.  God has chosen us, reconciled us to himself, and given us his Spirit to lead and guide us!  Our identity and calling are secure!  Let’s work in confidence, walk in obedience, and serve in faithfulness.  Let God sort out the details.  He is better at that than we are anway!

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