Jennifer, a mother who knows, recently sent me this powerful quote from Ardeth G. Kapp: “When Latter-day Saint women become united in lifting and building themselves and those around them, avoiding comparing and competing, they create a power that is very threatening to the cause of Satan. Such unity is a powerful weapon against his plan” (Better Than You Think You Are).
It made me think of other great things I’ve been reading about comparisons.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Isn’t that the truth? You’ll find that quote, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, in “Value Beyond Measure,” given by Joy D. Jones just one day after her son’s funeral.
Also check out “Wrestling with Comparisons,” a BYU devotional by J.B. Haws, for more about the human experience of comparing or measuring ourselves against others.
Finally, guest blogger Sheri Morris, author of More Blessings Than Burdens, kindly shares her leap year post below.
Leap with Love
Several years ago I had a friend, Clara who was remarkable in the way that very ordinary people can often be. She was lacking in most areas where people are usually found counting their blessings.
She wasn’t musical, artistic, crafty, brainy, cutesy, or any of the other visible talents that others seem to wear seamlessly on their sleeves.
She talked with a kind of a croak, her nose did not quite know when to stop growing, she had hair that frizzed in every direction, and she wore glasses that were far too big for her face.
But Clara was a friend to everyone.
Everyone knew Clara and everyone loved Clara because she was the kind of person who with a heart of gold knew how to lift others and brighten their day.
This was her gift – love
Her heart was so filled with love that when it was time to marry, she chose a man who had lost his wife and Clara became the stepmother to four anxious children.
Clara lived what President Uchtdorf taught, “Love should be our walk and our talk”.
The Lord has blessed each of us with gifts and talents that He expects us to develop and use for the building of the Kingdom of God.
The reality is – how many of us are truly using our gifts for the good of others.
I have seen so much jealousy, competition, and unkindness because others have used their gifts for their own purposes.
It makes me wonder how it will be for us at the last day.
When facing our Creator – He will ask us what we did with the gifts that He gave to us.
He will ask “How did you use your gifts to help my other children?”
Will we look at Him and list our accomplishments?
Will we list our awards and acquisitions?
Will we open up our violins and play for Him a concerto or present an amazing painting?
Perhaps He then will say, “Yes, you did many wonderful things, but how did you use your gifts to help my other children?”
In that moment of silent comprehension we will remember that He is the creator of all things.
How does our ability compare to such things as the grandeur of mountains?
Sunrises and sunsets?
Does not each and every intricate design of nature testify of the genius of our Creator?
Whatever we bring – we will realize that compared to Him, it is child’s play.
We will realize that everything that we accomplished was done because of the gifts that we received from His very hands.
It is in this moment that He will look deep into our souls and with the voice of rushing water ask again, “How did you use your gifts to help my other children?”
How will we respond?
It doesn’t matter how well we play our violins, write books, run companies, throw a baseball, etc…
If we do not use our gifts to serve and help our fellow men then we will be the ones left wanting. We will be the ones who have no oil in our lamps on the day the bridegroom comes.
Those who are like my friend Clara, will have filled their lamps with oil in abundance. These are they who will not be left wanting on the last day. These are the ones who had little in what the world esteemed worthy of admiration, but instead had the gift that is the greatest of all. The gift of love.
How we love and minister to one another is truly the only gift that matters to the Lord. All of our other gifts are given to us by Him for the purpose of helping us to help His other children.
During our journey through life we are lied to by the adversary and told that in order for us to win, someone must lose. We buy into his lies regarding the ever present societal pressure that comes from a dog-eat-dog world.
We may enjoy a small moment of glory, yet the song will always end and soon enough we realize that the rewards of men are insatiable. Manmade awards will not ever give any lasting happiness.
The lasting happiness that we seek comes only from the Savior. As we live purposefully each day to do His will, as we strive to live as He lived and use our talents to minister to each other we will become happier.
How did He live? Was there ever any selfish act? So it should be with us. We do not have time for selfish acts. We need to “be about our Savior’s business”.
Instead of living our lives seeking for the applause of man we should begin now to prayerfully ask how we can use our gifts to serve and bless the lives of others.
Because after all, the ability to love others truly is the only gift that matters.