Comparisons are dangerous things. If I compare what I have in material possessions with some of the people I know, I can begin to realize just how little I actually have.
This is silly stuff for sure. I mean, whose worth is measured in money and possessions. Crazy, right? Anyway, they have the newest iPhone, iPad, or iPod. They have new laptops, or desktop computers. They have new motorcycles or significantly beefier and more comfortable bikes to be sure. Their houses are bigger and in better shape. They can take vacations and go do more things than I can. Thankfully, I rarely make these kinds of comparisons, but I do make them occasionally even though I know they are silly.
I am actually quite satisfied with the things that Ruth and I have. Each of our possessions serves its purpose and does exactly what I need that thing to do. Our bed is comfortable, really comfortable. Our vehicles (we have two plus a Harley) take us to and from work and give us freedom to travel on the weekends and have a some fun. Our house, at 800 sq ft, is comfortable with more room than two people need. We don’t have a lot of money but we have no debt except our house. We eat well, have fun, and don’t worry about bills.
Comparisons are dangerous for those very reasons. I can feel inadequate if life is measured in those terms. Thankfully, life is not measured in possessions. At least it shouldn’t be.
Just for fun, I started thinking about my life and what I have in comparison to one of the wealthiest men in America, John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller (1839-1937) was a billionaire oil tycoon and philanthropist. He amassed a huge fortune, one of the largest any one individual had ever accumulated. Like I said, for fun I started thinking about what he had and what I have.
The average life expectancy was maybe 20 something years younger than our life expectancy now. Even the best medical treatment he could afford did not have the medical advances that most people take for granted these days.
My car is much more reliable, better equipped, and safer to drive than his ever was. I have heat and A/C with AM/FM stereo and a CD player. I can play movies in my car with some relatively inexpensive equipment. I have an ability to communicate around the world, with video, from anywhere in my house or car. I can travel farther in a day than he could. If I had the money (hat tip to Mr. Rockefeller) I could go to more places around the world in a shorter time than he ever could.
The food standards are better than the best food of his day. We have better medicine, fewer life threatening diseases, and more choices than he ever did.
I am sitting at my desk writing an article using a computer and able to and send it around the world in less time than it takes to address and stamp an envelope, and drop it in a mailbox. When I make these comparisons, I think I am far better off than Mr. Rockefeller.
Comparisons are dangerous when we compare the wrong things. What is worldly wealth and possession in comparison to the incomparable riches of His grace and the unsearchable riches of Christ? When I make that comparison, I am more than satisfied with who I am and with what I have.
What kind of comparisons are you making today?