Revelation 22:8-9 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
1 Corintians 10:11-14 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
Do you know what keeps me up nights? The parable of the talents. I started life with a fairly healthy body, parents who loved me, a good brain, and religious education. I was given a *very great deal*, and I don’t want to be found less than faithful in my stewardship. I know people whose parents didn’t love them, who have terrible illnesses, who have had frightful things happen to them at every turn, and they struggle along… do you think I should compare where I am with where they are? I don’t. I don’t think it’s useful to compare myself to other humans *at all* (and if you haven’t read Jess’ excellent piece on comparisons go do it now – link at bottom of page). If I compare myself to other humans, I open myself up to worshipping them or raising myself as an object of worship *for* them.
We’re supposed to use other humans as examples. Not to compare ourselves against, but to use for problem solving. “What did X do in this situation? Did it work? Why or why not? What were the long-term results?” That’s why our Bibles are so important. That’s why biographies are useful to read. ** That’s why it’s important to look at the entirety of someone’s life, not a moment in time. That’s why, when someone asked me about a very young Christian celebrity, and wanted to know if I thought he was the real thing, I said, “ask me in 10 years”. No human is perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. The idea is, as much as possible, to learn from the mistakes of others so that we don’t have to make the same mistakes. Saves time if nothing else.
We’re not supposed to worship other parts of God’s creation. We are only supposed to worship our Creator. People, plants, angels, stars, planets, moon, earth, rocks… we’re not supposed to worship *any* of it. That’s how you tell when the angel you’re talking to is on God’s team or the enemy’s. Only the enemy allows worship. We aren’t to hold ourselves up as the perfect in any way – first, because it’s not true, and second because it’s slightly blasphemous. No one is perfect except God, and therefore none of us is a perfect *anything*. Let’s remember Whose team we’re playing for, and act like it.
How can we disallow worship and still shine as lights? Well, that’s the point of *being real*. To be real is to be known. To be known is to be known for your good attributes and your failings. The point of showing your failings is not so that people can say, “she has it all together and *she* fails to dislodge her spiders!” so that they can excuse their own spidery corners. No, it’s just to remind them that you’re a person like they are. What we ought to be saying sounds more like, “Betty is a great cook. I should go learn how she makes meatloaf. Susan sure keeps her kids well-disciplined! I’ll run over and pick her brains about kids. Alice’s garden is a wonder! However does she get peonies to grow without a frost?”
And if your name is Betty and your cooking is amazing but you can’t grow a geranium – hopefully you can make friends with Alice and find out what you’re doing wrong! Take her a meatloaf. Since we’re repeatedly referred to as the “body of Christ”, I take it that we’re supposed to work together, supporting each other in our weak spots, and helping one another grow stronger.
It’s not enough to have weak spots and admit them. Because we’re supposed to increase in perfection, and that means we’re supposed to work on our weak spots while we help other folks with theirs. My business and my strength are in one area – but does that mean that it’s okay to blow off other areas? No, not forever. We can’t do everything simultaneously, and the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict, but we must keep our ears open. In other words, do the things you do well, well. Learn to do the things you do poorly, better. Don’t drive yourself insane trying to be perfect when you wake up tomorrow, but attend to the business at hand and don’t get complacent.
Get your hands dirty, keep your heart clean. Remember – a good light has clean windows.
** I will admit to a personal distaste for history of any stripe, except in tidbits. The tides of history are very depressing. That doesn’t mean I *shouldn’t* read it. It means that I don’t. Oh dear, now I have something to improve on. Bother!