Similar yet different
Still on the issue of comparison, I wonder why we compare ourselves with others (myself included).
Matthew 25:14-30 tells the parable of the kingdom of God being compared to a man going away on a trip and giving capital to his servants – 5 talents, 2 talents and 1 talent, respectively (talents were a form of currency back then). The master gave the servants talents “depending on their abilities”. So he knew what each servant was capable of handling and gave them capital that he knew they could multiply.
I find it instructive that when the master returned, he didn’t compare the returns on investment (R.O.I) from each servant. What he got from the first two servants was 100% and that was what mattered. It didn’t matter that 100% for servant A was 5 talents while 100% for servant B was 2 talents.
God has given us all abilities with which we can serve Him in the marketplace, not just in our local assemblies (churches). [Our marketplace is wherever we transact or work daily, whether it’s at a job, business or ministry]. It is left to us to give Him 100% R.O.I by looking inwards, recognising the talents (natural abilities), putting effort into developing our talents, and ultimately using them to serve God and our fellow man. Remember that loving God is loving others “….for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20, NLT ), so I believe serving God is also serving others.
If God doesn’t compare us, how foolish we are to compare ourselves one with another –
“Oh, don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare say that I am as wonderful as these other men who tell you how good they are! Their trouble is that they are only comparing themselves with each other and measuring themselves against their own little ideas. What stupidity!……Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us…..” (2 Corinthians 10:12-13, TLB)
The mistake a lot of us make is we don’t ask our Maker what HIS plans are for us – what HE wants us to do with the abilities He has given us. Considering that only He knows why He put those abilities into us, it’s quite sad (almost laughable) that we think we can just get up and do whatever we like with these abilities.
Our talents might look similar but our assignments differ. Two people can sing well but while one might be called to serve with their talent in a local assembly, another might be called to go on missions trips with missionaries where their talent will be used. In our homes, we can have bowls that look similar, just minor differences like colour or hue, and we decide one will be used to hold fruits, another to hold vegetables, and another for washing hands at the table (when eating our local ‘swallow’). We could also have jars that look similar but one could contain salt, one could contain oil and another could contain clothes pegs. We bought the containers…..we own them and we say what each one was bought to do.
True fulfilment comes from identifying our own unique purpose (what our Maker designed us for) and living our lives carrying out that assignment with 100% of our resources – Time, Talent and Treasure (money). This will eliminate the need to compare ourselves with the next vessel on the Potter’s shelf.
There’s only one you and you have only one lifetime here on Earth. Why not focus on your own race, giving it everything you’ve got so that you have no regrets when your time here is up and so that you can please your Maker and Master
That’s what I have made up my mind to do.