You’ve probably heard the phrase: “Comparison kills”. Comparison often drives us to envy or pride, vices that open the doors to many other evils. It warps our judgement and makes us think less of ourselves or more highly of ourselves than we ought, thus violating a fundamental Christian principle [Romans 12:3]. A subtle yet damaging effect of envying what someone else has is minimising or even despising what you have. Conversely, pride is the sin that prompted God to banish Lucifer from heaven. It’s a prelude to a fall and guarantees God’s opposition [Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6]. As such, we should be wary of anything capable of leading us into these vices.
I’ll admit that it’s often difficult to strike a healthy balance between being inspired by the gifts or accomplishments of others, and resorting to envy, but one thing which helps is a recognition of who we are to God. For instance, the Bible says we’re made in the image and likeness of God [Genesis 1:26]. Even angels don’t have that privilege. So, the fact that we do demonstrates our intrinsic worth to God. He’s also given gifts to us that He’ll never rescind [1 Corinthians 7:7, Romans 11:29]. Therefore, we all have a reason to walk with our heads held high [Psalm 82:6]. Likewise, if we genuinely see God’s hand in our achievements and recognise that they’d be impossible without His help, we’ll give Him the glory – fulfilling our purpose [Isaiah 43:7].
Scripture affirms that each person created by God has intrinsic worth and possesses something valuable [Psalm 139:13-14, 1 Peter 4:10]. Many of us may cerebrally accept the first part of the previous sentence, possibly because we capture the value of human life in our laws. But, we may easily question our value to God when challenges come if we’re unconvinced of this truth. That said, it’s probably harder for many of us to accept that we possess something valuable. I suspect that’s because many doubt God can do much with what we have. We can also be easily distracted by things we consider more worthwhile. In doing so, we can unknowingly hinder the unfolding of the miraculous. As such, what’s required is a paradigm shift, an understanding that it’s not the size or quality of what you possess that matters but the size of the God using it [1 Corinthians 2:5]. Consequently, if we place our little in God’s hands, He always does much with it [2 Corinthians 4:7].
The feeding of the five thousand demonstrates what an All-sufficient God can do with little [John 6:1-14]. When Andrew showed up with a child holding his lunch, he echoed what everyone was probably thinking: “How far will five loaves and two fish go with so many hungry mouths?” [John 6:9]. How often do we pose the same question to ourselves? We minimise the things we are good at because we think we can’t accomplish much. We trivialise our talents because we believe someone else’s is better. What would have happened if the little boy hung onto his lunch because he assessed the situation and decided his five loaves and two fish wouldn’t accomplish much? Men would’ve agreed with his analysis. Yet, thousands would’ve gone home hungry without witnessing a remarkable miracle.
When God called Moses to liberate the Israelites, overwhelmed by the task, he was understandably reluctant to go. At one point during the burning bush encounter, Moses tells God that the people will doubt that God appeared to him [Exodus 4:1]. In response, God said: “What do you have in your hand?”[Exodus 4:2]. Moses had a seemingly trivial staff. Yet, God showed him that his shepherd’s rod was more than just a staff [Exodus 4:3-5]. Moses would go on to perform spectacular miracles with that seemingly inconsequential staff, none more sensational than dividing the Red Sea [Exodus 14]. Many of us can relate to Moses’s initial feelings of inadequacy. But one lesson evident in his story is that when God calls us to represent Him, He equips and backs us for the mission [Luke 22:35].
If God says He’s created us to bring Him glory, then there’s something in us capable of glorifying God when expressed. Whatever God puts in us is invaluable to Him, and if we fear and trust Him, it’ll be equally valuable to us [Proverbs 1:7]. However, what God has put in us will not profit us unless we believe it has worth or if we don’t invest time and effort to hone and master it. Like the lazy, wicked servant, we can bury what we’re given instead of using it in service of the Master [Matthew 25:24-27]. Similarly, we must be watchful because, like the rich fool, we can become pridefully engrossed in self-serving enterprises and forget that the power to accomplish anything worthwhile comes from God [Luke 12:15-21, Deuteronomy 8:17-18]. Thus allowing the very thing God put in us to bless us and glory Him to become a stumbling block for us.
It took me a while to recognise that my blogs are part of what I have in my hands. Today, I see them as my contribution to helping other believers navigate their Christian walk righteously [Daniel 12:3]. I’m continuously learning to value what God has given me rather than covet another’s talent or negatively compare myself with others. Are you uncertain of your talent? Spend some time investigating what God has put in you for His glory. Start with what you excel in or what others compliment you for doing well. When you find your talent, cherish it because it’s one of the reasons you’re unique in God’s eyes. Remember to thank Him for endowing you with something valuable. Then, commit to glorify God with it.