Sunday School Happenings – September 2016
There was a recent story in “Our Daily Bread” devotional entitled “Comparison Obsession”. The story basically stated that individuals and even businesses define success by comparing their own achievements against those of others. This is not how we should measure our personal success.
Of course, this idea of comparison obsession is nothing new. In Psalm Chapter 10, David was stressed because he noticed that wicked and greedy men were prospering. At the same time, David found himself going through times of trouble.
Jesus’ parable in Matthew Chapter 20 tells about workers with a labor complaint. In comparing their wages, some felt that they were being treated unfairly.
Now don’t’ get me wrong. Everybody likes to have nice things. That is one reason that we have and do work. Work provides us with the income to have nice clothes, a car, a house etc. And it is certainly not wrong to try to improve the quality of our lives. Our homes need upgraded & repaired, our cars need replaced and our clothes wear and tear.
A problem arises however, when we feel like we have to “keep up with the Jones’!” If a friend or neighbor gets something new, do we feel the pressure to follow suit? If a new “gadget” comes on the market, do we strive to be one of the first people to have it? Let’s say a new “smart phone” is coming out. It amazes me that many people will camp out for days in front of a big box store in order to be the first to own one.
The opposite reactions is true as wee. If we own a nice home and have all of these gadgets that we are talking about, do we feel superior to our neighbor who has less than we do? This, of course could be identified as pride. And pride can very easily take a strong hold in our lives.
This compassion obsession not only takes the form of things and material stuff, but also of abilities and talents. We all have God-given gifts and abilities. Each person is different in that way. Do no obsess over what you cannot do. Simply employ the gift(s) that God has given you.
You may not be able to preach, teach or play a musical instrument. But maybe you can visit a shut-in or help a neighbor fix his lawn mower. The important thing is that we use the gifts God has given us.
The apostle Paul gave us all great advice in Philippians. The amazing thing about it was that Paul was writing from a Roman prison cell and not from some plush office.
Paul said, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry…I can do all things though Jesus who strengthens me. (Phil 4:11-13)
Let us strive to take Paul’s message to heart. Remember this simple thought; “Comparison kills contentment.”
I hope to see you in Sunday School and Worship.