Talents and Abilities Put to Competitions
Can you put a prayer into competition? Can you put praise into completion? I once entered a regular writing competition. My reason for joining was that I needed exposure for my books. If I won, it would boost my ministry because of the readership that I would get.
Despite participating for some time, I never won once. When I read the articles of those who won, I realized that there had to be an element of entertainment to get a chance of winning. Being a Christian writing platform, I expected the message to be as equally important as, or perhaps more important than, the style and skills of delivery.
Each time my writing failed to make the cut and considered those that did, I realized something was amiss. This may have been subjective, but I also considered other ‘losers’ against the ‘winners’ and realized that I would have given it to the ‘losers’ in some circumstances. Instead of slowly degenerating into trying to measure up to the taste of the judges, I decided to stop participating. I had also noticed that instead of writing to please God I was beginning to write in order to please man. It was beginning to be difficult to be focused.
There is a lot of grace and the favour of the Lord Jesus in what we do. If it was the Lord ranking our performance, it would confound many of us to see who the ‘winners’ are. Some have worked so hard and long, yet they get same wage (Matthew 20:1-16). Don’t forget that there is favour factor. We must learn to mind our business; not focusing on what God is doing with or for others.
David was under a moment of inspiration when he offered to face off with the Philistine’s giant in the name of Goliath of Garth. Otherwise, how would you explain an inexperienced youth facing off with a giant? And as if that wasn’t enough, Goliath was also heavily armed and an experienced champion. David’s courage and accomplishment was therefore not a subject of comparison with anybody.
Against all odds, David faced Goliath. When he finally defeated the giant, the women were excited. They did something unwise. They composed a song which was in effect saying, king Saul slew so few, David massacred so many.
“And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?”—1 Samuel 18:6-8.
In other words, the women had compared the two and gave it to David. This caused king Saul to be jealous. King Saul started scheming to kill David because he knew that it was just a question of time before David would take over the kingship. Things would have been different if the women composed a song without comparing king Saul and David. In case, the reader missed it: king Saul’s problem with David was ignited by the women’s comparative song.
Note that before the women sang, elevating David more than king Saul, the latter didn’t seem to have any problem with the former. Repeatedly, the Bible tells us that David behaved himself wisely.
“And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house…
And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.”—1 Samuel 18:2,5.
Due to the inherent human weakness, ill feelings against those who ‘do better’ are widespread—sadly, believers included. Whenever an upcoming servant of God is compared with his leader and wins in the comparison, the leader will feel that his position is under a threat—they will be intimidated and insecure. It doesn’t stop there. Things usually go wrong even among seasoned servants of God when they begin to compete and compare themselves. This must be the reason the Bible maintains that it is not wise when we compare ourselves with ourselves (2 Cor. 10:12).