BY RICK WARREN
“Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of.
But don’t compare yourself with others.” (Galatians 6:4 CEV)
Satan will try to steal your joy of service in two ways: by tempting you to compare your ministry with others and by tempting you to conform your ministry to the expectations of others. Both are deadly traps that will distract you from serving in the ways God intended.
The Bible warns us never to compare ourselves with others: “Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others” (Galatians 6:4 CEV).
There are two reasons why you should never compare your SHAPE, your ministry, or the results of your ministry with anyone else:
- First, you will always be able to find someone who seems to be doing a better job than you, and you will become discouraged.
- Second, you will always be able to find someone who doesn’t seem as effective as you and you will become full of pride.
Either attitude will take you out of service and rob you of your joy.
Paul said it is foolish to compare ourselves with others. He said, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV).
The Message paraphrase says, “In all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point” (2 Corinthians 10:12b).
You will find that people who do not understand your shape for ministry will criticize you and try to get you to conform to what they think you should be doing. Ignore them!
Paul often had to deal with critics who misunderstood and maligned his service. His response was always the same: Avoid comparisons, resist exaggerations, and seek only God’s commendation.
One of the reasons Paul was used so greatly by God was that he refused to be distracted by criticism or by comparing his ministry with others or by being drawn into fruitless debates about his ministry.
John Bunyan, the author of “Pilgrims Progress,” said, “If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.”
Talk It Over
- How have you seen people in the church compare and even compete with their gifts? What has been the effect?
- How do you think God wants church members to resolve differences about ministry?
- Do you feel like your ministry is slow or is taking a long time to bear fruit? Ask God for perseverance and for the wisdom to stay focus on what God wants you to do.