Spring is in the air! The weather is warming up and days are getting longer. I love this time of year. Truly, I enjoy spring and summer and look forward to them all year long. The more sunshine and heat, the better! The thing I love the most about it is the crazy busyness of youth ministry this time of year. For our ministry, it is a chance for deeper connection and growth with many of our students, but along with the warm climate of Spring and
The thing I love the most about it is the crazy busyness of youth ministry this time of year. For our ministry, it is a chance for deeper connection and growth with many of our students, but along with the warm climate of spring and summer, there also comes a word that can dig down deep into our soul and embed itself like a tick. A word that can cut, separate and divide or even destroy a person. Now I realize that you have already looked ahead of this paragraph and know exactly which word I am talking about, but I want you to understand the depth and harm that surrounds this word.
Comparison kills creativity and begs of selfish ambition
It is easy to jump on Instagram, Facebook or even hear about another church’s youth ministry event from your students and begin to get bogged down with disappointment, frustration and grief. Everybody has done it. Even if you are excited that the Gospel is being preached and you know the other ministry is a success, there is something down inside of you that compares everything you have done to “their” event. Good and bad, you compare it! It can even happen within your own church (junior high vs high school). If we are not careful, comparison becomes anger, bitterness and resentment.
Comparison settles down deep within us like the root of an old oak tree. It enhances all of our faults and iniquities yet continually negates all of our accomplishments and joys. We can pretend that it is not there and that it doesn’t bother us, however, it continues to affect every decision we make. It works a lot like sin. It manifests and grows in the dark, unknowing crevices of our soul. We pretend that, as long as nobody knows about it then it won’t hurt anybody, and as long as we “don’t allow” it to get out of control, we will be ok. As we all know…that doesn’t work.
Comparison is a hindrance to love
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied with:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, ESV)
How can we truly love God or even our neighbor with jealousy, malice and/or hatred in our heart? These things derive from comparison. We must pinpoint it and allow God to remove it from our lives. Prayer and accountability is our only hope!
The verse that I continually run to when I find my mind sinking into the deep dark depths of comparison is Paul’s cry to the church of Galatia:
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
(Galatians 1:10 ESV)
All of our faults and all of our inadequacies all come back to comparison in our heart. Who says the other person is better? Who says you are not worthy? Who says that (insert your comparison here)? The real question is…Who…is your standard? In Christ alone, I place my trust!
Keith Kilpatrick is a full-time Youth Pastor in Artesia, New Mexico. He has been involved in youth ministry for over a decade. He is a Denver Broncos fan, loves everything baseball, and loves spending time with his family. Keith is an advocate for adoption and empowers others to reach their potential. Connect with him on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @keithkilpatrick