Comparing Ourselves With Others

comparisonI woke up this morning comparing myself with various people. My daily devotional was so perfect I though I’d share it here. Be sure to read the related passages.

April 22: Judging Gifts
Joshua 9:1–10:15; 2 Corinthians 10:9–18; Psalm 50

Comparing our gifts to those of the person sitting in the next cubicle or pew is dangerous work. Judging ourselves by this standard denigrates or inflates the gifts we’ve been given, leading to either ungratefulness or pride. Because the assessment method is faulty, we will always miss the mark of success—even if we’re successful.

Paul had been called by God to minister to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15). When others in the Gentile community questioned his authority, Paul boldly defended his calling. He also pointed out the measure which these leaders judged their gifts: each other. They were undermining Paul’s authority based on his lack of verbal abilities (2 Cor 10:10). Paul was undeterred by this because he knew his calling: “But we will not boast beyond limits, but according to the measure of the assignment that God has assigned to us” (2 Cor 10:13).

If we judge our gifts and calling by comparison, we serve the idol of our own pride. But this doesn’t mean we should take them for granted. Instead, we are called to live for God: “The one who boasts, let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17).

Thankfulness is the first step to using our gifts for God’s glory. In Psalm 50, the psalmist acknowledges that everything is from God—a reason to sacrifice our own pride. God says, “The world and its fullness are mine” (Psa 50:12). But He does delight in the sacrifice of a thankful heart: “Offer to God a thank offering, and pay your vows to the Most High” (Psa 50:14–15).

We’ll always come up short if we judge by comparison; there will be someone who is smarter or more gifted than we are. But by thanking God for our gifts (and for others’ gifts), and asking Him for guidance in developing them, we can use them appropriately—not for our own gain, but to further His kingdom.

Are you judging your gifts by comparison? How can you judge your life in the light of God’s purposes?

Rebecca Van Noord
Connecting the Testaments Daily Devotional

Follow Up on Jeff’s Trip to Germany

I’m so glad I was able to go and be a part of the eDOT team earlier this month. Rather than write about it, I thought I’d try telling you about it. Please take a five minute break to hear my heart.

Code for Spring Break

LightSysLogoNoTitle

Code-a-Thons are a ministry of LightSys Technology Services where they invite college students majoring in computer science or engineering to spend their Spring Break writing code for missions. If you’ve heard of a Hackathon, pretty much the same thing.

Carpe Diem

Seize The DayThe Latin phrase Carpe Diem, means “seize the day.” Taking risks to make your life extraordinary is biblical, if done according to God’s plan and principles. The idea behind this comes from Ecclesiastes: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Eccl 11:1).

Bread [see A Hint of Grain] acts as the symbol for substance in the ancient world; the author of Ecclesiastes is suggesting that we should follow God’s plan, even at the possible cost of our livelihood. He then suggests that what we give to God, He will return. This is opposite from a self-protection mentality. The “waters” in the proverb represent chaos, suggesting that in letting go of even the most chaotic circumstances, we learn about God’s ability to give what we need.

A Hint of Grain

Grain CroppedLast year Pastor Daniel at Mountain Springs taught about digging ditches. This was a profound message for us about preparing to receive the provision the Lord has promised. Imagine our surprise when this year Pastor Daniel returned to the same passage in 2nd Kings 3. This time he emphasized that now that those ditches have been dug, only the Lord can fill them. We’ve done the work, now comes the waiting on the miracle-working God who has promised to fill the ditches we’ve dug.

This year, the day before this message, the Lord brought me to Psalm 13:1 where David cries out “How long, O Lord?” I resonated with this verse because this road to Germany has been long. While sitting in the service the next day the Lord began knitting together 2nd Kings 3 and Psalm 13:1 and I heard a hint of the answer my heart longs to hear.