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Thursday, January 11, 2018


By Pastor Mark Taylor

“Better is a handful of peace than two hands full of toil and chasing after wind.”  Ecclesiastes 4:6 (paraphrased).
We are constantly measuring ourself with others to determine if we are "OK"  There is no win in comparison.    “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

We have a tendency to compare what we have with what others have. We want our children and spouses to be better than others.  We want our houses and cars to be better than others.  It is not really about us wanting something better. It is about us, so we can feel better about who we are.  We all know that there is something wrong in our lives, personality, behavior, thoughts.  We try to fix this by comparing ourselves to others.  We say “Well at least I am not as bad as (fill in the blank).”

The problem with this is that as we look to the left and to the right, we will always find someone better, smarter, richer, prettier, and so on.  So we are putting undue pressure on others and on ourselves to be like someone else. Just be the best you can be.

There is no win in comparison.  What am we using for a reference point to determine if we are ok or if we are alright?  Solomon is saying that if you always are looking to the left are right for approval, you will have both hands chasing after the wind.  Are you looking at your father, your mother, your husband or wife to tell you you are ok? it is important to “love yourself” regardless if others withhold words of approval from you.

In Ecclesiastes 4:5. Solomon says “The fool folds his hand and does nothing.”  
He is not saying we are not to be ambitious and have goals in life.  He is not saying that we do not encourage our children and each other to become better.  What he is saying, is that life is meaningless if you can't enjoy what you have in one hand. Take time to smell the roses as you go through life.

Competitive is different than Comparison.   Competitive is when you put your energy into becoming better instead of doing things in seeking someone else's approval.  You do it for you and the team.  You use your gifts and abilities to help others climb up the ladder of success or overcome problems.  You have one hand climbing up and another hand reaching down to help others.  Then you can find the approval from within.   Being competitive is helping you and others.  This is called being a friend or being a family.

What is your mirror that you are looking at to tell you that you are ok? Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with- (fill in the blank)?  Are you broke from trying to keep up with - (fill in the blank)? Are you allowing what others have keep you from enjoying what you have?

Do you enjoy your kids or are you driving them crazy by comparing them to how much other kids have achieved?  Your love and approval should not be based on performance.  Are you comparing your wife or husband to someone else's?   You need to be thankful for the wife or husband God has given you.  Don’t compare them to others.

Who does your Heavenly Father compare you to?  Nobody.  He went to the cross so He could have a personal, one on one, relationship with you.  He does not compare you with His other children. “He demonstrated His love toward you when you were still nobody - someone who didn’t love Him, He died for you.”  Romans 5:8 (paraphrased).

Who’s estimation of you should you use when you evaluate yourself as whether or not you are ok or not?  You should use God's estimation of you above your own estimation of you.  He is going to say "Your fine, because your mine."

He is not done working on you to make you better.  Look to Him for your affirmation and for His approval of you.  He already sees you as His child.  Quite focusing on your weaknesses and focus on your relationship.

Proverbs 14:30 " A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."  If you are always looking at others to receive their approval, you will never have peace, but will be "chasing the wind”.  Envy is wanting what others have and not being satisfied with who you are and what God has given you.

Take your cue about you from how God views you. Psalms 139:14. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

What you have is less important than what you do with what you have.  The parable of the talents:  Matthew 25:14-30

What are you going to do with what God has entrusted to you?  Celebrate what God has done for others and use what God has given you.  Use what you have in one hand and don’t waste it trying to chase something you will never have.  Live a life of peace enjoying what God has given you and then He will give you more of what you need.