Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Comparison that Works

In order to compare ourselves with others, it's necessary to first take our focus off the primal grace of God's love and engage what the renowned preacher and teacher John Claypool called the "side-long" glance. It's the look of envy and when it becomes habitual, leads to misery. As my Mom would say, "Don't make funny faces, it will freeze in that same position the rest of your life."

The side-long glance prevents us from seeing what's ahead for us because we see only what we're not. Seeing what we're missing can lead us to life, if it leads us to seek God. But what if comparison thinking only allows ingratitude to grow deeper roots? Can we then blame the church or God or anyone else for our unhappiness and lack of spiritual movement? How can we take the next step forward if we don't focus on what's ahead?

John Claypool's quote in this regard comes from a sermon of his, "Life Isn't Fair, Thank God." May it heal your spirit- and restore gratitude for the wonder of our birth and the miracle of our life:
[But] I will give you a fail safe formula for how to live your life in joy and that is compare your particular situation at this moment with what you had a year before you were born. I entered the stage of history December 15, 1930. December 15, 1929, John Claypool did not exist. I had no body. I had no being.... As soon as I stay in touch with the fact that my sheer birth is windfall, that my life has been given to me as an incredible gift, then something deeper than justice becomes the way that I look at this whole mystery of existence. If it ever stays with us that life is gift and birth is windfall, then we can begin to be generous with our lives exactly as God has been generous with God's life.
God guard our minds and spirits and lead us in the paths of life.

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