My cousin Jacob and I have had an ongoing, yet innocent battle over the latest gadget for years. It usually starts with him purchasing the newest electronic and kindly taunting me about it. I remember one year he and his wife had bought a flat panel television, back when that was the new thing, many moons ago. Well, it wasn’t too long after that, I began to covet what my neighbor, aka my cousin, had purchased. Weeks later my husband and I set out to buy a new flat panel television; only I needed to one-up him, so I bought one that was one inch bigger. Ha! I showed him. Now some of you are reading this thinking we’ve lost it. But I assure you we aren’t serious about this battle; it’s all in good fun.
In 1 Samuel 8, we come across the story of the Israelites demanding a King. Up until this point, they had never had a king. Samuel prayed to the Lord, and God granted the request despite the rejection that he was their King. While God listened to the people’s demand he did so with a warning from Samuel, as to what it would mean to have a king (read 1 Sam 8:10-20). Verses 19-20 reads, “The people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.”
Now the part of this story that gripped my heart was “then we will be like all the other nations.” Israel had a king, God himself, but they looked around at the other nations and were no longer satisfied with Him.
I realize the story I shared about Jacob and I is all fun, but for a lot of us, it’s real life. God has graciously blessed us, but we look at our neighbor, and we are never satisfied. We see the new car in their drive, and suddenly ours begins to seem a little dated; the new purse she carries, or the deer gear he’s purchased. Sadly, some of us even look to another’s marriage and begin to pick apart everything wrong in ours. The comparison trap is a dangerous place to be. Our satisfaction isn’t meant to be found in anything but Christ. But we allow the world to woo us through comparison with our neighbor.
Just like Israel ignored the cost of a king in verses 10-18, we too overlook the cost of comparison. Comparison can cost us financially, emotionally, and spiritually. It isn’t above costing us our family, friendships, or our joy!
Please understand, God wants us to have a beautiful life full of His blessings. He wants to bless us financially, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. We were meant to have astounding marriages, but not through comparison with others. He loves us and wants all these things for us. But the way to get God’s gifts is by giving ourselves entirely to Him! And can I take things a step farther and say, when we are wholly His, we are content with what we have, and we don’t look so much to what our neighbor has.
Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
Philippians 4:11-13, “ I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Our contentment with and in all things can only come through Christ. He is our strength when jealousy and discontentment well up. He is our provider. Let’s look at Christ to satisfy, and His blessing will follow.