Thursday, February 13, 2014

Comparison Kills Contentment

My son, Jacob, turned 11 years old this week.  He proudly proclaims to others that he is a sports nut.  So it was no surprise when he decided that he wanted tickets to a Cleveland Cavaliers game for his birthday.  Using this as a learning opportunity, we explained to him what an expensive gift this is.  It's more than just buying him a ticket.  First of all, it requires buying two tickets since someone needs to go with him.  Then there are handling fees, money for gas, parking, food, etc...  When we announced that we would make it happen anyway (provided he chip in a small amount of his birthday money), he was overjoyed.  He didn't care if we got the cheapest tickets that were up in the nosebleed section...he just wanted to go!

Then he got on the internet and started looking at the arena and seating options.  He began to think of how cool it would be to sit closer up.  He found a website that showed you a camera view of what it would be like to view the game from different seats.  All of a sudden he was no longer satisfied with simply being at the game...he wanted better seats.  He began to negotiate.  Could he use more of his birthday money to buy a better seat?  When we put a limit on it, he actually got upset!  He only sees the here and now.

Are we any better as adults? Valentines Day is tomorrow.  I don't really like this holiday because comparison is so hard to avoid.  Sometimes women ask "So what did your husband do for you on Valentines Day?".  I am usually quite content with whatever gesture he makes, but I hate this question.  Why?  Because someone always has a better story.  On Facebook you will see pictures of someone who got a bigger bouquet of flowers or a more creative display of affection.  Or for some women it is just a reminder that no one is pursuing them in that way.  We compare, we envy, and we can become discontent.

It would be good for us to remember then that all things come with a cost.  If you want better seats or a bigger bouquet - you will also end up with a bigger credit card bill.  You may want a more romantic husband - but I'm willing to bet that those husbands have other weaknesses their wives have to live with on a daily basis that we don't see.  If you are single, you may be so focused on what you don't have that you miss out on the ways God is trying to show you His love. 

How do we get rid of comparison?  With thankfulness.  May we focus on what we have and rejoice in that.  May we turn our eyes away from ourselves and think about ways that we can bless others, celebrating their joys without becoming envious.  Scripture tells us love does not envy, it does not boast, and it is not self-seeking.  Seems to me that a holiday celebrating love has missed the mark.

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