“Who are they to tell me what I know, I’ve been doing ministry for years!” Those thoughts paraded around in my head during a student council meeting at the Bible School I attended in San Antonio, TX. We were discussing what we could do in order to improve the ministries of our school, and my ideas were not being listened to. I was angry, But I was also an 18 year old Pastor’s Kid who just graduated high school, and thought he knew everything. No wonder they didn’t listen to me! I don’t blame them. The thing is the attitude that “we know better” or “that we are better” is hard to get rid of, and even when we deal with them at one point in our lives they are bound to pop up now and again.
Fast forward several years, and I find myself scraping gum off of tile floor (thank the Lord it wasn’t carpet!) before a youth service and I had the thought, “Why am I doing this, I have leadership potential, I should have already done something better with my life.” Then it dawned on me, I had said something like this before. I realized that I stepped back into my old ways. I was very wrong about my place. It’s not that God had forgotten about His promises, or that I was less than I should be, but that I am still a work in progress, and that God works in His time not mine.
“It’s not that God had forgotten about His promises, or that I was less than I should be, but that I am still a work in progress, and that God works in His time not mine.”
My examples may be focused on ministry, because that’s my life. But these scenarios aren’t found only there. We have all felt that we were better than someone, or that we aren’t living in our full potential. We have had thoughts like: Why was I passed up for a promotion, when I’m preforming better and doing more work than they are! Why am I still single, when I have tried to stay pure and do things God’s way. And so on and so on.
The human condition is one of comparison, we have trouble dealing with other people’s blessings, experience, or character, and we place ourselves on a higher platform than them, sometimes without even thinking about it. I’ve seen it done with the homeless with statements like, “They’re lazy! They could just get a job!” I’ve even made statements like that, I mean come on give them a break. Have you tried to get a job? I have, it’s hard! I’ve seen it done with believers who have sinned and even with people who simply think a little differently than we do.
The truth is that we all walk a different path, and no matter where we are in life, we should not try to compare our lives with others, because we all have different experiences. When we compare ourselves to others, whether we think higher or lower of ourselves we will never be satisfied. The core issue here with is that, when we compare, we start living for people rather than living for God, we become focused on keeping with the Joneses as the saying goes, instead of maintaining our relationship with God and living out the purpose He has placed in our lives, we live to impress the world, and face it, the world is never impressed for long, it always asks for more. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (NIV) We must take a look at ourselves and ask the question, “Who am I living for? God or man? As long as we are trying to get more or be better than someone else, the answer there isn’t God. My prayer is that we all could realize that we are a work in progress and that God will finish His work, but don’t rush, and don’t compare, you are His masterpiece and no one else can be you and you can’t be anyone else.