Have you ever felt insecure because someone could do something better than you? Have you ever been tempted to think negatively about someone who was celebrated more than you? Well, if you have (and who hasn’t?), then this blog is for you. We will learn from the life of Saul about what not to do, and then get revelation of the importance of celebrating the success of others and the importance of attaching faith to the skill level we have now.
Saul was Israel’s first king, He was a very skilled man but he battled the same lies we do. Ultimately, his inability to defeat these lies created an insecurity and emotional immaturity which led to his downfall. This was made evident when he became aware of how people were talking about a young man named David. `
“So the women sang as they danced, and said: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’ Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ So Saul eyed David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 18:7-9).
Here are some truths that stand out to me from this passage:
Saul was a mighty warrior and worthy of praise
Even so, David was a greater warrior than him
There will always be people who do what we do much better
How we respond to this will be one of the indicators of how much God can trust us in the future with favor and increase
If we allow someone who “kills their ten thousands” to stop us from valuing our “thousands,’ we will be unwise and greatly limit our influence
Just as it was with King Saul, there will also be many people who wish they could be as effective as us
We can certainly relate to Saul’s experience:
We may not be as compassionate and selfless as Mother Theresa, but our love still makes a difference.
We may not be as great a businessperson as Bill Gates, but our business still provides jobs and helps many.
We may not be as great at bringing miracles as Benny Hinn, but our healing anointing has cancelled sickness and brought health to many lives.
We may not be as strong of a worship leader as Brian Johnson or Kim Walker Smith, but our worship still brings honor to the Lord and moves His heart.
We may not be as strong of a preacher as TD Jakes, but our sharing the Gospel rescues the lost and brings people into the glorious kingdom.
We may not be able to experience the realm of the Spirit as much as Wendy Backlund, but the level we are at creates encounters for others.
We may not have as many online followers as John Maxwell, but our material is still bringing breakthrough to lives, families, and nations.
In today’s social media age, we can regularly see people who are seemingly having “ten thousands” experiences in family, possessions, influence, beauty, and happiness while we feel we are having a “thousands” experience in these.
We have seen through the life of Saul how not to respond to our shortcomings. Let’s now consider someone who responded differently – David. He could have responded out of the same insecurity. He was:
an unchosen son when his father presented his sons to Samuel
untrained in the way of Kings
untrained as a soldier
despised by his brothers
David didn’t compare his gifts to others – he just offered them all to God and found out God can do a lot with whatever we freely offer Him.
David knew that negative comparison is not an effective growth tool. Instead, it only highlights where we are not measuring up to what others are doing. But when we learn to celebrate the big wins in others’ lives while also valuing what we bring to the table, we will see our influence and skills continue to grow. God has not called you to be someone else, He has called you to be you. And you walking in the fullness of who God made you is the most impactful you could ever be.
Yes, let’s keep growing and becoming more skilled, but let’s also realize there will always be people to celebrate with greater ability than us who will give us great opportunities to reject insecurity and jealousy. As we defeat the giant of negative comparison, we will certainly become happier and more influential. Saul missed his opportunity; let’s not miss ours.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.