Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Worry About Your Own Path

Photo by msmail
Compare and Contrast

As human beings, I think it's easy for us to look over at someone else's life and compare ours to theirs. Christians, of course, are no different. In the age of the "prosperity gospel," it's easy for any of us to look over at the lives of our Christian friends and compare what we have to what they have or don't have. We may even start asking God questions such as, "Lord, why does 'Joe Blow' have such an easy life?" "Why have you blessed him with more money, a bigger house, a nicer SUV, and a hotter wife?" "Why doesn't he have similar problems and struggles like me?"

Believe it or not, even Jesus' own #1 apostle struggled with comparing his journey to that of another leading apostle. In John 21:20-23 we read about the Apostle Peter comparing his journey with the Apostle John:
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
The reason Peter started asking the Lord these questions about John is due to the fact that Jesus clearly spelled out to Peter that he was going to have a difficult ending to his life's journey in the previous two verses:
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19).
Don't Worry About God's Will For Others

In the flesh, it's easy for all of us to compare our lives to others. I have a suspicion that's why God addressed this issue in the tenth commandment of the Ten Commandments:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17).
God had a specific plan that He called Peter to fulfill, and He had a specific, slightly different plan for John to complete. The same is true for you and for me. It's not our job to compare and complain to the Lord if we feel as though we have been dealt the "short straw" in life. Our concern should be fulfilling God's purposes for our own life and encouraging others as they fulfill their own unique life purpose.

Focus On God's Will For You

So, what has God called you to do in this earthly existence?

If God called you to be a truck driver, then be the best truck driver you can be for His honor and glory. If God called you to be a pastor, then shepherd God's people with a passionate heart. If God called you to be the CEO of a major corporation, then lead that organization with the integrity of Christ. And, if God called you to be a missionary in one of the most difficult places on the planet, then fulfill your calling and give Him praise for His considering you worthy for the task!

Don't fall into the trap of comparing and contrasting His plan for you with other believers. That's just going to lead to possible anxiety, resentment, and frustration. Instead, give Him praise and thanksgiving for the calling He has placed on you, and do your best to finish your race to the best of your ability!

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