Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”- Matthew 20:10-12
In Chapter 6 (“Conflict in the Vineyard”) of Satisfied, author Jeff Manion discusses the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) to warn us of the dangers of comparison. As Pastor Manion notes, comparison quickly takes our hearts from deep gratitude to subtle resentment:
“Comparison rarely enjoys what one has but instead dwells on what someone else has and, consequently, obsesses over what one lacks . If you succumb to comparison like this, prepare to wave goodbye to those higher, treasured attributes we seek to alleviate. Comparison is a thief and a killer. Comparison robs you of gratitude and contentment. Comparison massacres joy.”
As the author reflects on Jesus’ parable, he realizes that the twelve-hour laborers weren’t furious with the master because they received too little, but that the one-hour workers received too much! Or, as Tommy Smothers repeatedly quipped to brother Dick: “Mom always liked you best!”
Today’s question: What unhealthy comparisons have you made following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss? Please share.
Coming Tuesday: the new Short Meditation, “Pulling Out All the Stops”
Tomorrow’s blog: “What’s in your bowl?”