October 8, 2007 Ration

II Corinthians 10:12

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

Comparison will kill you. And it’s such an unnecessary and avoidable death. If it doesn’t kill you, its fetters will ravage your mind and soul. The reality about the fetters of Comparison is that they can only be fastened by you. You may find her fetters cast at your feet, but if you never secure them to your ankles, they can’t harm you. You are free to walk away unfettered.

The current art culture seems to be built upon this precarious foundation of Comparison. Where it is, it is without understanding. One way that artists are without understanding is that they think their rank among men is where they find their worth, so they endlessly compare themselves to one another, stepping on one another, posturing against one another. They are wrong. Their worth is first found outside of themselves. It is God who has made us, not we ourselves (Psalm 100:3)! God has made each person just as He desired. And God has put each one in society, indeed, in the body just as He so desired (I Cor. 12:18). God has portioned both the rich and the poor man’s lot (I Samuel 2:7). God has designed both the skillful and the deaf ear (Exodus 4:11). God is the one who sets up kings and tears down kings (Daniel 2:21). Our worth is determined by God, and He does not calculate as man does.

Our worth is first found in God’s wisdom and counsel for creating us as He did. Our worth is that we are created in the image of God, and are made to be, according to God’s choice, a part of the bride of Christ. Our worth is therefore a manifestation of God valuing His own word when He says, “I will be their God and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). God initiated this covenant apart from us, and God keeps His covenant in-spite of how “worthless” on our part we prove to be.

Secondly, and on a different plane altogether, there is a sense in which a man is measured. But it is a measurement of his faithfulness to the charge of God on his life, not a comparison of his charge against another’s. We will give account for how we tended what we were given, not how our return stacks up against our neighbor’s (Matt. 25:14-30). That right there should quell all temptation to compare ourselves with one another for the sake of finding our worth in our cultural, artistic net-worth. We can, however, learn from studying each other’s faithfulness or faithlessness where we could bone-up on improving our faithfulness with our lot so that we would hear the Master fervently say, “well done, good and faithful servant!”

Artists, forget the world’s standards for valuing yourself. Open your Bible and learn what is truly valuable. The Lord looks to this one, “to him who is humble, and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at [His] word” (Isaiah 66:2b). Do you have a desire for commendation? The King and Creator of the universe, your Author, scans the fields in search of those who fear Him that He might pour out His lovingkindness upon them. Why would you look for commendation from lesser creatures who have nothing of their own to give?

Part of trembling at God’s word is proving to be faithful with your portion, and that in the strength that He supplies. So take Paul’s position, artists, and do not bother to compare yourselves with those who commend themselves. They are without understanding. In fact, learn from them how worthless ignorance can be. Rather, be faithful with the artistic sphere that God has portioned you to keep, and you will know the satisfying pleasures of faithfulness that is commended by God!

Jason Harms


© 2007 The Gaius Project