My 9th grade english & literature teacher was always making me write stupid compare & contrast papers.  I hated writing those stupid things.  I could’ve printed out a picture of each item and turned it in, (never actually tried it), and it would’ve been the same in my mind.  How are two objects similar?  How are they different?  I understand that part of understanding literature and understanding how to write effectively means that a writer must compare and contrast things.  But maybe old Mrs. Meronde was a little bit off…  Here’s why.

Today, I had lunch with a couple friends and colleagues.   All three of us are in the same field, all working at very similar churches (aside from size), and all coming from the same church background.  One of the guys was saying that he didn’t feel adequate to do his job sometimes.  I was a little shocked.  Not because he’s perfect (even though he’s very talented), but because I feel the same way sometimes.   His further explanation made it clear that he is adequate at what he’s doing right now, but (cue the comparison music) if he ever wants to add more to his job description, like the other guy at the table, he wouldn’t be able to do it.  How many times have I had that very thought!?!?!  His words were “I can do what I’m doing just fine, but I can’t lead an orchestra or a choir.”

After further discussion, we came (the three of us, while eating the world’s greatest bread) to the conclusion that just because one guy is doing something doesn’t mean that another guy has to.  That guy may be doing what you’re not because he has to.  Or maybe he’s only doing it because he’s good at it and enjoys it.  Comparing yourself to the next guy doesn’t do you any favors.  Especially in ministry.  Forget that Mrs. Meronde!

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