Just Be You


Businessman Silhouette   It’s easy to get caught up in comparisons.  In a world of dog eat dog we find ourselves constantly compared to others and comparing ourselves to others.  Are our clothes good enough?  Is my hair perfect?  Is my resume as good as the next persons?  Are my kids cuter than yours?  (they are by the way)  Did my son grow up to be smarter than your kid?  Can my Dad really beat up your Dad? (probably not anymore)  We compare things, everything.  We see what we think are perfect people and we want to be them.   

  But God’s kingdom is different, at least it is supposed to be.  We are supposed to be different.  Most of the time we aren’t.  When my Dad and I started our church we compared ourselves to other new churches.  We wondered why we weren’t as successful.  Why weren’t we growing as fast, and at the end, growing at all?  Sometimes I have compared my blog to other blogs, wondering how I could be as good a writer as they are.  Will I have as many readers as they do?  As a young man I compared my knowledge of the Bible to others in my church.  Was I smarter than my Sunday School teacher?  Did I know more than my classmates? 

  Some people compare themselves spiritually to others.  In their minds they are saying, “Well, I am certainly more spiritual than Sally.”  “I give way more money than Frank.”  “I have told far more people about Jesus than Jeff or Bob.”  “I must be a great Christian.”

On the flip side, some people compare themselves negatively.  “I could never be as spiritual as Jenny.”  “I know I’ll never tell as many people about God as Theo.”  “Jan knows way more Bible verses than me.”  “I must not be a very good Christian.”

When we believe ourselves to be better than others something bad happens.  We become prideful.  The Bible is full or God’s people becoming arrogant and finding out the hard way just how not awesome they really were.  Jesus speaks very negatively about pride and the harm it does. 

  When we equate ourselves to others negatively it does several things.  First, you are saying that God messed up when He created you.  He obviously didn’t give you the resources He gave the other person.  Second, it brings with it a defeatist attitude that says since God didn’t give me the resources I need, I will never be good enough.  Third, you begin to feel worthless.  And finally, depression sets in, “Why should I even try at all?  I should just give up.”

Jesus taught on this same topic several times.  Here are two.

 

41-44Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, "The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all."   Mark 12:41-44 (The Message)

and

9-12He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: "Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’

13"Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’"

14Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."   Luke 18:9-14 (The Message)

Of the widow Jesus says, “She gave her all”.  Of the tax collector Jesus says, “He made right with God.”  It is through our understanding that God does not care for titles, success or the size of our bank account that we begin to see and comprehend the scale that He grades with.  That scale is faithfulness and humility not accomplishment and pride.

Jesus teaches that it is the least that are the greatest.  Sounds strange doesn’t it?  In a world of Mega-Star Christians like Billy Graham and Rick Warren, Jesus says, don’t compare yourself to them.  Do what I command you, be obedient and faithful.  janitor

 

In Gods eyes the faithful church janitor who volunteered for 30 years because he felt  that’s what God wanted is equal to Billy Graham.  Like Jesus said at the end of the story about the tax collector, “if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."  Just be you!

 

 

It’s our faithfulness to God, not our popularity with God’s people that counts.

Do what you can, where you can!

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One Response

  1. Great post, Shawn. Comparing ourselves, our work or our talents to others ends in pride on one hand or humiliation (inverted pride) on the other hand. In Mere Christianity CS Lewis has some profound thoughts on pride and comparing ourselves to others. He said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” He also talked about how a humble person can be objective about their own work/talent, and are able to speak of how good or bad it is without becoming puffed up or embarrassed. As we walk with Jesus he will lead us to places of increasing detachment from the things where we find our worth. We will need to compare ourselves and our work to others and their work less and less as we find ourselves more and more in Him.

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