Earth has nothing I desire besides you (Psalm 73:25).

King David had everything in the world a person could desire; he had power, fame, homes (palaces), influence, relationships and money.  Through it all, he discovered nothing on the earth was more important or more desirable than following God.  David was a man after God’s own heart, and tells us to focus our thoughts upon matters of the Lord rather than on things of the earth. 

If we live our life centered on God and our relationship with Him, we will not be as quick to compare ourselves to those around us and be less likely to judge others for what they have.

Seek to Understand

Being the first child born to Adam and Eve, Cain did not have anything to compare himself to.  However, when his younger brother Abel was born, sibling rivalries were created.

(At harvest time) Cain brought to the Lord a gift of his farm produce, while Abel brought several choice lambs from the best of his flock.  The Lord accepted Abel and his offering, but he did not accept Cain and his offering.  This made Cain very angry and dejected.

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked him.  “Why do you look so dejected?  You will be accepted if you respond in the right way.  But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out!  Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it” (Genesis 4:4-7).

Was Abel favored over Cain?  Why didn’t the Lord accept Cain’s offering?  What right response was the Lord looking for?

It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did.  God accepted Abel’s offering to show that he was a righteous man (Hebrews 11:4).

Cain’s rejected offering was in response to his lack of faith and unrighteousness.  God gave Cain an opportunity to remedy the situation; however, instead of listening to God and looking within his own heart to seek understanding of the situation, he took his anger out on his brother and killed Abel.  Cain blamed Abel as the cause of the Lord’s displeasure, not himself.

God’s lesson to us is not about the material possessions we have or even in the material possessions we offer up to Him.  He doesn’t care about the things of the earth or how we compare to one another.  What God cares about is our own faithfulness and our own righteousness, irrespective of one another.

Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else (Galatians 6:4).

Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us (2 Corinthians 10:13).

It is easy to look at someone else and want what they have, pass judgment, or blame them for our disappointment.  However, God wants each of us to take responsibility for ourselves.  He gives each of us the opportunity to respond in the right way.  Let us not compare our lives to others, rather let us live it according to how God guides and directs each of us individually. 

Paul gives us some final counsel: 

Everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:8-9).

 
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com. 

**This article first published on February 5, 2009.