Sunday, February 23, 2020

Measuring Up

In the past few months my job has taken me into a world I don’t feel entirely adequate to be in.  The professionals in this arena graduated from the most elite business schools, interact regularly with the CEOs of giant corporations, and of course their incomes are commensurate with all of this.  Some days I can get a little self-impressed but mostly I’m just trying to not embarrass myself.  While it’s probably pretty natural to find ourselves comparing ourselves versus other folks, I’m quite sure it’s not something God would have us do. This passage from Galatians, taken from the Message version, leapt off the page for me and I hope it has some applicability for you as well.  We’ll look at this from the perspectives of Purpose, Pride, and Envy.

Galatians 6:4-5
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Things to think about:
·      God’s Purpose
o   Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.
§  Who you are
·      Genesis 1:27 - Created in the image of God
·      Psalm 139:14 - Fearfully and wonderfully made
§  What are three talents you believe (or that others tell you) you possess?
·      if this feels like a hard question, ask your wife, kids, or close friend – they’ll know
§  The work you have been given to do
·      Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
·      1 Corinthians 12:4-6 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
·      What kind of work do you feel God has called you to?
o   Think about the gifts of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12
§  Sink yourself into that
·      Focus
·      Colossians 3:23-24 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 
·      Remember, this applies not only to our vocation but also to the daily, moment-by-moment work of serving others.
·      Pride
o   Don’t be impressed with yourself.
o   Deuteronomy 8:18 - You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
o   Proverbs 11:2 - When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
o   Why is it so critical that we not be impressed with ourselves?
·      Envy
o   Don’t compare yourself with others.
o   I believe one of the most dishonoring things we can do towards God is to be envious of others and thus ungrateful for what He has, in His infinite wisdom, deemed right for us.
o   1 Timothy 6:6-10 - But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
·      Summary
o   Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
o   I love that little adjective here, doing your “creative” best.  It implies that there is something personal to bring, like an artist does to his artwork. 
o   It is our responsibility to do our best with what God has given each of us to do.  It’s like a child bringing home an art project to show mommy and daddy and how pleased they are with what they made.
o   How has today’s study made you think about focusing on what God has given you to do with your life?
o   Do you find it liberating to get out of the comparison game?
o   How can be free of comparing allow you to more fully flourish in His work?