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May 07, 2017

The Comparison Trap

We all compare our lives with others, but is this what God wants us to do? Listen or read to find out.

Mike Gerhardt, Study in Haggai Outline Two, May 7, 2017, Comparison Trap, Haggai 2:1-9. Read verses 1-3. We compare height, weight, health, wealth, grades, and shades (tear drop, aviator) with a can-you-top-this attitude. We are trained to compare. But remember: though we have something good, there is always something better. Also: though we have something bad, there is always something worse. Tom complained to his three friends that he went to work and the tools he was supposed to have were stolen and he still had to accomplish the task with bare hands. Bob said that’s nothing, my day started when my best plow horses took off after someone broke down most of the fence which also let out the cattle, sheep and pigs. Ray say I got that topped, my day started with the house full of smoke because the chimney was clogged, which started a small fire in the family room which ruined our new woven rug. Well fellows, said the last guy, let me tell you about a bad day I once had then Job began to share. We compare good & bad days with fervor. The Word for today is: Don’t compare yourself with anyone. Try not to compare your journey with someone else’s. Your journey is your journey. It is not a competition. You cannot be yourself in Christ if you are always comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. To live joyfully, say no to comparison and competition! Don’t compare your results to someone else’s. Osho said: Comparison is a very foolish attitude, because each person is unique and incomparable. Once this understanding settles in you, jealousy disappears.

Ezra 3:10-13. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving, they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. You may ask: why did they weep and after this, why did they stop? Solomon’s temple was made with tons of brass, silver, and gold. The cost of the huge cut stone blocks and the precious woods, the cost of jewels imbedded in the columns and costumes, the silver and gold vessels, silk vestments of the priests and purple robes of the singers, the cost of trumpets, other musical instruments; some estimate that all together it amounted to 70 billion dollars in today’s currency. Not counting the 10,000 men engaged in getting timber from the Lebanon forest, or the 70,000 slave laborers, or the 20,000 overseers all employed for seven years. The temple of Solomon was a very costly and very impressive building but now it was just a pile of rubble.

On August 6,1945, when the first atomic bomb exploded 1800 feet above the center of Hiroshima, over 129,000 dies instantly. 176,000 were instantly homeless. Yet right after that disaster, the people returned, moved the rubble and began to rebuild. The population today is over a million.

One month after we arrived in Hawaii on September 4 1992, Hurricane Iniki swept through the island of Kwai bringing destruction. Many moved the rubble and rebuilt. Some just left the rubble behind. Moving the rubble out of my life takes an effort. Remember: No one can do what you and God can do together. That makes you incomparable to others. The greatest work for God is what I do today.

Be courageous in His power. Read verses 4-5.

The myth of the insignificant. Ben Franklin once noted: for the want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the rider was lost being overtaken and slain by the enemy all for the want of a nail. So many in this last election said to themselves my vote won’t matter she will win regardless. But what happened. Everyone counts in voting and in God’s Kingdom.

The potential of the available. You can never be another person, you can only be a better version of yourself with God’s help. David said to his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:20: Be strong and courageous, and do the work you are called to. David was available when no one took up the challenge to take on Goliath. To all the Israelite soldiers, Goliath was too big to hit; but to David with God on his side, Goliath was too big to miss.

The problem of the talented. Billy Sunday had a choir director who allowed a boy named Joey to sing, even though he was not very bright or a good singer, but was enthusiastic about participating in the many crusades in New York City. A man came forward and thanked the choir director saying: Joey has worked hard to be here and it is through him that me, my wife, five children and grandparents have been converted to the Lord. Don’t underestimate your God given talent for service to the King. Ralph Waldo Emerson: To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Do concentrate on His glory. Read verses 6-9. The future molds the present. Billy Graham had just graduated from high school. He and Grady Wilson began a summer job as door to door salesmen. Jimmy Johnson, an evangelist, invited them to go along to hold a service inside a jail. After a brief service, Johnson announced that Billy would give a testimony. That would be the first time, he shared his faith publicly. What if that didn’t happen? What if he was too nervous and told Mr. Johnson no way? What would you have done? The ultimate goal is the shekinah glory of God. His imminent return is near, He is coming again soon and very soon, He will set up His Kingdom. Notice: I will shake the heavens, I will shake the nations, I will fill this house with glory, in this place I will grant peace (the word is yaru shalom give you a foundation of peace). God’s uses those who are incomparable to others, who are courageous in His power and who concentrate on His glory only.

Lester Thurow a prominent MIT economist said: a competitive world has two possibilities for you. You can lose. Or, if you want to win, you can change. Spiritually you are either on the losing team, or the winning team that is if you change who you are. Winning starts with a relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. After that you cannot lose in life if you pursue His Glory with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Think about this: a little-known monk led Martin Luther to Christ. Thomas Bilney was the instrument in Bishop Latimer’s conversion. John Eggler led CH Spurgeon to the Savior. Edward Kimball a Boston shoe merchant spoke to DL Moody about salvation. David Schoen with Mark Montgomery, Susan Ward, Donna Wise, Dale Muggleworth, Glenn Marshall, Debbie Faust and several others stood on my doorstep and invited me to a Sunday evening service where I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord so many years ago. Are you in a Who’s Who of collaeges and universities? Who Cares. Be in the volume that counts. God’s Who’s Who in Christian work is filled with people just like you who did what no one else could do.