Some years ago Robert Fulghum wrote the best-seller, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It includes everyday pieces of wisdom such as:
- Play fair.
- Don’t hit people.
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
While kindergarten provides much-needed foundations, God has an even better means for me to learn all I really need to know--the Bible. And one of the Bible's great guides is God's “never-never rule.”
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:1-5 NIV
Did you catch it? Never never compare yourself with others! What a great word. I sure need it. Pastors are not immune to the comparison trap. And it is a trap. When I start comparing myself to others, I will inevitably feel a little "better than" or a little "less than." "Better than" leads to the holier than thou attitude that is so ugly. "Less than" leads to the I'm so worthless attitude that is so debilitating.
There is a better way. I call it "REST IN." When I rest in what God has done for me in Jesus, I break free from the comparison trap. I don't cop a holier than thou attitude because I know I am not better than anyone. My righteousness was given to me because Jesus died for me. And I don't grovel in the mire of I'm so worthless because I know I am highly loved by God and gifted for his work.
Break out of that comparison trap. Rest in God's work for you . . . be thankful for God's work in you . . . and give the grace you've been given.