Sometimes comparison is a good thing, nudging us upward to higher potential. Maybe you’ve experienced that nudge after reading a missionary biography and, as a result, decided you needed to do more in the way or trusting, praying, or serving. Maybe you’ve been inspired by a friend’s beautifully appointed home and decided to make changes in your own to make it more appealing or orderly.
Comparison that prompts us to evaluate our stewardship is a good thing since we’re going to give account of all we’ve been given: our gifts, resources, and abilities.
But sometimes comparison spirals into self-evaluation, and we are painfully aware of our limitations and shortcomings. And aren’t we always our own hardest critic? We feed on our own failures or on life’s disappointments, and it discourages us from trying because, well, we’ll leave that for the experts, the more put together person, the more disciplined person, the lady who isn’t constantly blundering her way through life.
Why bother trying to decorate if I can’t be Martha Stewart.
Why entertain…I’ll never be Ina Garten.
Why try to minister? I’m no Amy Carmichael or D.L. Moody.
I don’t have the faith of Abraham, the whole-heartedness of David, the faithfulness of Anna, or the humility of Mary.
I don’t seem to have much to offer, so why bother.
The simple answer is that God called you to this time and place. He didn’t call these other men and women to your neighborhood, home, or church. He called you to be His hands and feet and mouth in this time and place and hour.
Our job is to look around and faithfully answer the call by meeting the needs as God providentially presents them.
God didn’t call Ina Garten to serve that hurting woman at your door a glass of lemonade. He didn’t ask Martha Stewart to make up that bed for that missionary family. He didn’t ask Jay Adams to counsel that frustrated mother who begged you to meet with her to discuss child raising. He didn’t ask Clara Barton to bring soup to that neighbor who is sick or to bring cold facecloths to your feverish child.
He sent them to you. To your little humble abode.
And comparison that freezes in fear is a dereliction of duty of sorts when you believe in God’s providence.
Don’t leave the job for the gifted. The gifted person is not there. You are.
Christian women, we need your “small attempts” performed in love. We need your faithful “unspectacular” deeds because people are hurting and need another human to step up in courage and offer what they have.
Offer your five small loaves and two fish and see how God multiplies the most insignificant offering. All of our small attempts are little offerings, aren’t they? Given in love to be used as God sees fit?
We need you to take courage and know that your devotion to God qualifies you
and that the need in front of you was not brought to your attention by accident.
You are not a conduit, funneling people to someone better than you.
You are a servant and you have an opportunity, and if the Master presented it before you, He’ll help you perform it.
Like Joshua, who needed encouragement to lead the unruly Israelites after Moses died, God promised His presence as the help Joshua needed and we have that same promise of God’s presence:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Has God brought people into your life that you think would be better served by someone else? Is God giving your opportunities to speak for Him and you’re saying “No, thank you.” Does guilt over past failures keep you from stepping out in faith in areas that God has called you? (Confess any sin, claim God’s grace and forgiveness, make it right with fellow man, and move on.)
What lies are you believing about ability and God’s dependability? How can you adjust that thinking and take courage where God plants you today?
Take courage, friend. God is with you and will equip you.