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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Meeting on the mountain (pt. 2).

The continuing account of a hike on Greenwood mountain unfolds a bit more today. I mentioned yesterday of the trail and that another person had already walked it a few days earlier. My struggles have already been documented and I want to share another thing learned about God's character and my foibles.

At first glance I assumed the person before me had run up this trail. The strides were exceptionally long and I tried to match their footprints. I found myself leaping from one step to the next. Didn't take long to give up this contest. Further up the mountain, it became obvious to me that running would not have been possible. The trail was too dangerous and rocky. The person who preceded me was blessed with long legs and an incredible long stride. There were dog tracks that accompanied the person tracks.

One thing God needed me to learn the hard way was that comparing my life with another person is foolhardy and pointless. Fact is, God has made me unique and I have specific gifts that need to be offered for God's glory. On my hike, I fell for the same trap that Simon Peter stumbled into in John 21.

"Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:19-21, NIV)

Peter had just been restored back into fellowship with Jesus. Previously, Peter denied Jesus and here in John 21 Jesus offers him a new beginning. Having just experienced reconciliation, one would think Peter would have been doing cartwheels. Instead, Peter looked at John and immediately said, "What about him?" Ahhhhhhh!!!!! **Sigh**

There it is. Did you hear it? Peter wasn't content in his new found place of grace. He had to question the life and faith journey of someone else. Sounds familiar. The danger of playing the comparison game is that God has created us and gifted us with different gifts. The beauty of the Kingdom of God is revealed when the redeemed use their gifts alongside and in addition to others and always for God's glory.

I questioned my worth in ministry in comparison to other pastors and that was my first mistake. The second was thinking because I wasn't like others, somehow I was less faithful or effective. Imagine watching my short legs trying to match long strides on the mountain trail. I didn't look graceful or effective. Stop it Randy. You were not meant to mimic others. Be yourself! Imitate Jesus.

Do you struggle playing the comparison game? Do you compare your life, gifts, looks, faith, or some other personal attribute with others? It really isn't productive. You need to stop it. You must realize that God has made you unique and special. Use what God has given you and stop leaping toward the next distant footprint. You look as silly as I did the other day.

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