I have to admit, I’m very bad about playing the comparison game. I often do it without even realizing it. I’ll see someone working at their dream job, remember my current lack of employment, and instantly feel like a failure. In fact, I’ll forget that I worked hard during quarantine to complete two drafts of a book, a dream I’ve never accomplished before. Thankfully, God gives us examples of how accepting where you are can allow Him to work. Let’s look at the widow’s offering in Luke 21 to see Jesus explain.
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”Luke 21:1-4 NIV
The Comparison Game
I imagine we have all struggled with comparison at some point or another. Whether you blame social media or not, as humans we naturally tend to see others and debate if we “win” or “lose” in comparison. Maybe you compare yourself to other job candidates to determine your interview strategy. Maybe you look at others at church or at work to see how likely you will befriend them. If you have a sibling, then you know the struggle of deciding who gets the last piece of cake or tallying up presents to make sure they don’t get more than you do. However, this comparison game can really wear us down. If you struggle with mental illness, you probably know the fear of not being enough. It’s a vicious, damaging cycle.
That’s why I’m so thankful Jesus pointed out this widow’s offering. The widow only needed to bring what she had, and God used it for His glory. If the widow had looked at the rich people’s offering, thought “my offering isn’t good enough,” and gone back home, Jesus would not have had her example to teach from. The church would not have learned that financial status doesn’t determine your standing with God (whether we remember it or not.)
Accepting Where You Are
I first heard this idea of recognizing where you are and accepting it as enough in yoga, but I see it reflected all over Scripture. Praise God He didn’t tell Abraham that he needed a kid before he could receive God’s covenantal promise! Thank God He didn’t tell David that he needed to have amassed an army before God could anoint him as king! Above all, thank God He didn’t require us to make ourselves perfect before He accepted us into His family! Instead, God sent Abraham a son when it seemed impossible. God pulled David from a field tending sheep as a teenager to be anointed Israel’s next king. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8b, NIV).
Sure, we want to learn and grow as we get older. Most of us probably want to leave this earth better people than we were when we arrived. Let’s just remember that God doesn’t call us to perfection right now. He sees us where we are, sees all our imperfections, sees all our potential, and uses it for His glory. We don’t have to be any more or less than that.