12 January 2020

Jim Stephens

Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-11

Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! (2 Corinthians 10:12 NLT)

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. (1 John 2:16 NLT)

We’ve been looking at some of the things that undermine contentment and breed discontent. In 1984 at age 41, we, Jim and Jean, sold our home, gave away all our stuff and moved with our two daughters, from the US to Jamaica as missionaries. We started a Bible Training Centre in Kingston to train leadership for the churches. Then in 1992, we moved to London, UK to plant East London Bible Training Centre, then Newham Bible Training Centre, and then began training leaders in Ghana and Uganda. We moved back to the US at the end of 1999.

Through the years, we didn’t feel we were missing out on the Good Stuff except when we made visits to the USA. We were “independent missionaries” so we raised our own support from churches and others. That meant that periodically we made trips of a month or more to travel in the USA, visiting churches and supporters.

It was on those trips that we really had to guard our hearts and our attitudes. Overseas we didn’t compare ourselves to people because it was apples to oranges. It was when we were back in the USA with our peers, folks our age and stage of life, who had big houses, multiple vehicles, RV’s, kids in the best schools…all the Good Stuff, that we would begin to feel discontent, left out, frustrated.

There’s all kinds of comparing we can do, and none of it good for us! Someone is always thinner, richer, prettier, more successful, more popular…you know the drill! If we compare well, we get prideful. If we compare poorly, we feel envy or shame! It’s a lose-lose scenario! No wonder Paul says it’s unwise to compare!


Father, Please help us not to compare ourselves with others. We know that neither pride nor shame is good for us! As Jesus said when asked about John’s future, “What is that to you? You follow me!” Yes! We will follow you and stop comparing! Amen!

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