“Well done, good servant!” he told him. “Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, have authority over ten towns.”Luke 19:17
How much time do we waste comparing ourselves to others? We want what they have. We want to do what they can do. We want the accolades they receive. This is the very jealousy and envy that the Bible warns us so much about.
On the opposite end of this spectrum, our comparisons make us feel like we’ve failed when we aren’t able to accomplish what others have done. This, likewise, is something we are to avoid.
In Luke 19, Jesus told a parable about a nobleman who was leaving for a while and gave ten servants each a mina, a coin worth about 100 day’s wage. When he returned, we see his interaction with three of those servants. The first took the coin and earned ten more. He was told, “Well done!” The second earned five more. He was also commended. The third couldn’t even be bothered to place the coin in the bank to earn interest. He instead hid it, afraid to lose it, and gained nothing from it. This servant was condemned.
The praise came not, ultimately, from how much was earned back but rather that something positive was done.
So it is with our lives: God has given each of us different abilities, talents, and gifts. We have different personalities and experiences. We have a variety of resources. God does not expect us each to have the same return with these, but simply to be faithful to his will.
In other words, if what we do doesn’t measure up to the same level as our neighbor, that’s okay. The question is: Have we actually done? A wasted life is one that lets all that God has given us sit on a shelf and collect dust. A well-lived life is one that serves others the best we can without comparing our results to another.
This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible.