Several years ago I got a tweet that a large church in the southeast was starting another campus in the county where I started a church over 20 years ago. This church started out with over 1,000 from day one. The church I started finally reached 500 after 14 years. I must confess that unpleasant emotions crept into my heart when I read this tweet. The curse of comparison had reared its ugly head. When we pastors compare our work against others, what can we do?
Our fallen human nature naturally tempts us to compare ourselves with the more successful, the prettier, the smarter. I believe we often do so to build ourselves up ao we can feel significant. No matter your vocation, position in life, or size of your ministry if you are a pastor, you probably face this same curse.
I don’t have pat answers, but a few choices have helped me avoid the vortex of discouragement that comparison can bring.
- I must remind myself that my identity comes not from my performance, but from my relationship with Christ.
- I must do my best with the opportunity God gives me right now and if I do, I will please Jesus. Jesus commended the guy who returned 10 talents back to him the same way he commended the guy who returned 4. They each had different levels of giftedness, yet they both were faithful to the task they were given.
- I must believe the words of Paul when he said that ultimately it’s not what I think of my performance that counts, but what the Lord thinks.
What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference. (2 Cor. 10.18, The Message)
What has helped you avoid the curse of comparison?