By Nicki Koziarz
I’m convinced one reason we struggle with a sense of lack in comparison with others stems from a lack of gratitude for what we’ve been given. Without gratitude, our gains in life don’t last very long.
We see the negative side of this exchange quite often in the story of Rachel and Leah—times when God gave them something, but they never considered it enough and continued on in their greed for more.
- Leah announced her first pregnancy with a side note that “the Lord has seen my misery” (Gen. 29:32 NIV), yet she continued to stay miserable.
- When Rachel’s servant became pregnant, she said God had “vindicated” her (Gen. 30:6), yet she remained in a place of competition.
- Leah said God had “rewarded” her (Gen. 30:18) when she ended up pregnant, despite Rachel demanding and manipulating her way into Leah’s stash of mandrakes, yet she kept feeling a lack in her life.
- When Rachel finally became pregnant herself—with Joseph—she said, “God has taken away my disgrace” (Gen. 30:23), yet she continued to do disgraceful things.
All of these seeming gains did not last, because they didn’t come from a place of gratitude. They sprouted from a place of comparison, which compromised what was really happening.
But gains announced with godly gratefulness keep growing.
Jacob, even with all his faults, was often the opposite of this grumbling attitude. He hardly lived a perfect life—especially in those sneaky dealings with his brother Esau and his father Isaac.
But over time, as he began to experience quite a few gains in his life, he freely gave God the credit for it—and I don’t mean a little God shout-out here and there. Something had really changed in his heart.
He knew without God, he was nothing, no one, and going nowhere. He knew all his gains came from the Lord.
We saw it first when Rachel was blaming him for her infertility, because he got a little fired up about that whole conversation.
“Give me children, or I’ll die!” she said, but Jacob’s wise response was, “Am in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” (Gen. 30:1–2 NIV). He gave all the credit for all their blessings to the One who alone is able to give them.
Another example of Jacob’s gratefulness toward God is seen in a conversation with Rachel and Leah about Laban.
Unhappy with the way their father was treating him, Jacob began making plans to pull up stakes and strike out on his own.
In order to keep things secret, he called his two wives out into the fields where he was tending his flocks to tell them what he was thinking.
But he left no secret about who he was trusting to take care of him and who had been blessing him all along.
I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. (Gen. 31:5 NIV)
And then again . . .
“Your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me.” (Gen. 31:7 NIV)
Jacob could have turned both of these statements into gains of greediness. He could have said, “Your dad has been treating me wrong, and God will get him back for this!”
But do you see the difference in his words, his tone, his heart, compared to that of the two sisters? That’s why I believe Jacob’s gains kept lasting, while it seems like Rachel and Leah’s gains kept fading.
Gratefulness versus greediness. That’s the difference.
But that’s not the only difference it makes. Not only should we expect to see good things result from giving God the glory for our gains, we’ll see even greater things happening when we start giving Him glory for the gains of others.
Comparison’s lie of lack tries to convince us this is impossible. But a confident trust in God’s promises will give us perspective to see that if others win, it does not cause us to lose.
NICKI KOZIARZ (@NickiKoziarz) is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author. Her latest is Why Her? 6 Truths We Need to Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind.
Excerpted with permission from Why Her? by Nicki Koziarz. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.