In her book, “Fountainhead,” Author Ayn Rand speaks of a ‘self-sufficient ego.’ A self-sufficient ego requires no validation of its moral value except by oneself. The only authority it needs is itself. Does this remind you of anyone?
Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”. When I think about that quote, Mother Teresa comes to mind. From 1948 until her death in 1997, Mother Teresa devoted her life to serving the “poorest of the poor” in India. In 1979, Mother Teresa won the Nobel Prize for Peace. When she learned that the Nobel award panelists wanted to give a banquet in her honor, she refused to attend. Mother Teresa realized that the cost of the banquet was enough money to feed 400 people for a year in India. She requested that the money allocated for the banquet be given to her so she could accomplish just that. Not only did the they comply with her request, they made a significant additional contribution to her ministry.
An obstacle to humility is the illusion of self-sufficiency. We believe that our success is the direct result of our efforts alone, and God takes his rightful place on the back-burner. If self-sufficiency manifests into comparison, the endless spiral of unhealthy ego unfolds. We live in a society of more, more, more. How can we expect to remain humble in our life pursuits when we are trying to keep up with the Kardashians?
But I say to you that the best feeling in the world comes from doing something for someone who can never repay you. There is something about giving of ourselves without expecting anything in return that brings immeasurable joy. I would suggest that this is hard-wired into our DNA. Remember, we were created in God’s image. Jesus said (paraphrased), “that which you do for the least among you, you do for me.” My belief is that we are honoring God when we act unselfishly. By honoring Him, we are able to truly connect with Him at the deepest level.
So when we feel like we are falling into the trap of comparison, let’s take an inventory of what we already have and be grateful. Our Creator is well-known for always giving us what we need…which may not be what we want.