At the close of the teaching moment, our leader gave everyone a prayer shawl (or Tallit). He had just finished reminding us that our spiritual passion (our internal “fire”) had to be tended to and invited us to pray together.
The lesson was this: Sometimes we need physical reminders when spiritual things are intangible. Just remember that these physical items can’t do anything on their own…they are just a symbol of the work done at the cross.
But I wasn’t paying attention to the lesson. I was looking around the room noticing that the leaders around me had shawls different from mine. They had different colors and Scripture knit into the cloth. I became jealous over their shawls…wondering why the “elite” leaders got one version and I got another design. That just seemed wrong to me. My soul got twisted up and I was unable to engage the sacred moment.
Afterwards, I found out that these other shawls were cheap imitations which were needed at the last minute because we did not receive enough for everyone. And, the leaders in the room were showing their servant heart by taking the cheap ones so that the rest of the staff would be treated well.
I am such an idiot.
The comparison game is a dangerous one. It leads us down many dark roads that are difficult to recover from. When we compare ourselves to others, we see what they have at the expense of seeing the generosity that has been heaped upon us.
God forgive me. Forgive us all.
Thanks for listening.