Rebecca Van Noord
Comparing our gifts to those of the person sitting in the next cubicle or pew is dangerous work. Judging ourselves by this standard denigrates or inflates the gifts we’ve been given, leading to either ungratefulness or pride. Because the assessment method is faulty, we will always miss the mark of success—even if we’re successful.
Paul had been called by God to minister to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15). When others in the Gentile community questioned his authority, Paul boldly defended his calling. He also pointed out the measure by which these leaders judged their gifts: each other. They were undermining Paul’s authority based on his lack of verbal abilities (2 Cor 10:10). Paul was undeterred by this because he knew his calling: “But we will not boast beyond limits, but according to the measure of the assignment that God has assigned to us” (2 Cor 10:13).
If we judge our gifts and calling by comparison, we serve the idol of our own pride. But this doesn’t mean we should take them for granted. Instead, we are called to live for God: “The one who boasts, let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17).
Thankfulness is the first step to using our gifts for God’s glory. In Psalm 50, the psalmist acknowledges that everything is from God—a reason to sacrifice our own pride. God says, “The world and its fullness are mine” (Psa 50:12). But He does delight in the sacrifice of a thankful heart: “Offer to God a thank offering, and pay your vows to the Most High” (Psa 50:14–15).
We’ll always come up short if we judge by comparison; there will be someone who is smarter or more gifted than we are. But by thanking God for our gifts (and for others’ gifts), and asking Him for guidance in developing them, we can use them appropriately—not for our own gain, but to further His kingdom.
Are you judging your gifts by comparison? How can you judge your life in the light of God’s purposes?
This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.