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Stop Comparing and Start Living

Have you ever played the game called “Compare”? Here’s how it’s played. You live in a decent home, but it’s nothing like John’s. You drive an okay car, but you wish you had one like Susan. You’re pretty happy with your job, but if you had a job like Martha, then you’d really be content.

There’s only one rule to the game: Always compare yourself to “more” and never to “less.” Preachers play this game by comparing their church to the one with more members. Business leaders play by comparing their income level to a friend with more money. Moms play by comparing themselves to other moms who seem to have more motherly skills or more ability to keep the house clean, cook delicious meals, and help with the kids’ homework—all at the same time.

The winner of the game is the one who wastes the most time and energy on wishing life was better, resulting in exhaustion, discontentment, and discouragement. The winner of the game actually turns out to be the loser in life.

I find myself playing this game every time I listen to someone else preach, and I say, “Wow, I wish I could preach like that.” Or I read someone’s book, and I think, I could never write like that—so profound and inspirational. I play the game well. I never compare the size of the church I serve to a smaller one down the road. I never compare my writing skill to someone who has never written a word in his life. My problem—and maybe this is yours as well—is that I find myself winning at the game and losing at life.

Heed the words of this wise counsel from John Calvin. In order to protect ourselves from our anxieties, misguided cravings, and misplaced comparisons, we need to accept that we all have our “own kind of living assigned to [us] by the Lord as a sort of sentry post, so that [we] may not heedlessly wander about throughout life” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.3.10).

Sometimes it’s hard not to look at someone else’s life and wish it were yours. It’s difficult to find contentment in “our kind of living assigned by the Lord.” Faithfulness to your calling leads to contentment in your living. We all need these “sentry posts” to help us stay anchored—not chained—to living in our boat and not wishing we were in someone else’s.

Your current calling may not be your final destination. It may be that God is leading you to a new assignment. Contentment is not complacency; it is finding peace in your circumstances while always seeking the God who makes all things new.

Stop comparing and start completing. Make it your aim to complete your assignment and not worry about the assignments of others. Grow where you’re planted. For God’s purposes, He has you where you are for now. Since He gave you your assignment, then your work must matter to Him. That means you have “mattering work” to do right where you are. Stop being restless and naively imagining that if you had someone else’s assignment, you would be happier or more significant. Your work matters to God, so fulfill your work as unto the Lord, and stop playing the “Compare” game. If you win the game, you lose at life.

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11b).

Family Easter Story Cookies

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Easter Story Cookies (To be made the night before Easter)

Items Needed:

  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zipper baggie
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tape
  • Bible
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3
  3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30
  4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11
  5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27
  6. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
  7. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
  8. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.

Read Matthew 27:57-60

  1. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close door and Turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.

Read Matthew 27:65-66

  1. Time for bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.

Read John 16:20 and 22

  1. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9

For other great Easter Ideas go to www.childrensministry.com

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