Comparison: Why bother?

Ever have that feeling of wanting to be like someone else? Maybe it’s that person in your class that always gets a better grade than you. Maybe it’s that girl that always has cuter clothes than you. Maybe it’s the guy that has so many friends or always gets the good internships. Maybe it’s that person in your small group that seems to know all the answers, or can pray so well. The list goes on and on. We all know the feeling. On a campus as large as Mizzou, it’s inevitable that we’ll run into people more talented, more popular, smarter, and funnier than us. We often feel like we’re missing out, but should we really want to be like them?

To help with this question, let’s look at the parable of the talents in Matthew:

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted them to his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five more talents. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. (v. 14-16)

What does this have to do with comparison? In the same way that we see the men receiving different amounts of talents, so each one of us recieved different strengths, skills, characteristics, attributes, etc. For example, Ryan Wampler’s been given five talents (or more!), I’ve been given two (or less!). That guy in your class or girl you know, maybe they’ve been given five and you’ve been given two.

Notice though what don’t see in the parable. We don’t see the guy getting two talents hang his head because he didn’t get five. He doesn’t pout and throw a pity party for himself. Instead, we see his response is faithfulness. Look at what the master says to them when he returns:

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (v. 21,23)

His master isn’t praising him for his results, he’s praising him for his faithfulness. In fact, both men were given the same reward for faithfulness. They were told to “come into the joy of the master.” What’s possibly more thrilling than the thought of coming into the joy of our master, Jesus Christ?

I think when we really understand this, it’s freeing. We should feel the weight of the bondage of comparison lifted. We realize we don’t have to compare ourselves to others at all. Each of us has particular callings and gifts that aren’t any better or worse than the person to our left or right. We’ve all been created differently.

Instead of using your gifts to compare yourself to the next guy or girl, use that as an opportunity to be faithful with the blessings you’ve received. And in doing so, you can take confidence that you’re bringing joy to your master.

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About Kyle Richter

I graduated from Mizzou in 2007. I was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity and maintain an avid interest in greek life at Mizzou. Currently I'm on staff with Veritas and attending Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis.
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One Response to Comparison: Why bother?

  1. I think it’s also true that those who are given more are given much more responsibility. The more you have, the greater the fall can be if you let it come to that.

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