This is a continuation of a previous post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.
And I saw that all labor and all achievement
spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.
This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
The Comparison Trap: Week One, Day Five… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:
“Chasing after the wind.” This Scripture verse concludes with a mind picture we can all imagine. Outside of the context of the verse, it’s one that makes me smile… how about you?
I have a big backyard, and the winds blow here almost 365 days a year. I’ve seen dust devils, snownados and whirlwinds of leaves dancing all over the yard, so I can just imagine myself in the midst of it.
I see myself fruitlessly chasing a copper-colored leaf across the yard and into the meadow. I see myself getting caught in the vortex of one of the dust devils or columns of snow, and and I then see myself being overwhelmed by the messiness I feel when I’m able to escape the whirlwind as it dies down.
Chasing a leaf on occasion might be fun, but being caught in a storm of dust or blizzard-like snow does not. For any of my scenarios to happen regularly… well… it would get old and seem meaningless. I wouldn’t find myself smiling, then.
Sandra Stanley starts the Day Five devotional with a question that leads me to imagine these things, and she concludes it with, “What a waste of time. That’s the way it is with envy, too. Envy accomplishes nothing.”
Isn’t that the truth!
Comparing my circumstances to others only causes strife in me.
Comparing my successes to others only puffs me up in pride.
Comparing my shortcomings to others only rattles my self-esteem.
Comparing myself to others is not what God has intended for me.
When I want more because my neighbor, girlfriend or co-worker has it, an ugliness enters into the situation and into my desires. I tend to think less of them and less of myself. That’s meaningless, and I’ll tend to find myself working, thinking, and planning around the “thing” I’m chasing in the moment. That’s meaningless, too.
In the devotional, Sandra urges us to ask God for clarity (I’ve found myself yearning for this in my present life, yet I am not chasing it) in recognizing when we spend time in comparison, and to also give us eyes to see the worthwhile things on which our attention and efforts should be focused. That is meaning-full!