I had the opportunity to preach recently. I love when I those weeks roll around. After our final service concluded (we have three every week), my production director asked me the same question we ask every speaker at the end of each Sunday: “Which message would you like to be the ‘master?’” The master message is the one that is uploaded to all our online portals. It’s the highlight reel, after the comparison of all three versions.
We talked for a moment about each and ultimately decided the 11:00 a.m. message was the best of the three.
And that got me to thinking. Every week, all across the country, pastors and leaders are being recorded. But more often than not, there is a good deal of editing, re-communicating, and “let’s try that again” happening before it ever goes public. We watch these other preachers and teachers and feel both inspired by their message and intimidated by their abilities.
But we’re only seeing their 11:00 a.m. service. We’re only seeing their highlight reels. We’re only seeing their best. It’s like social media profile pictures and the 15,000 selfies that were posted while you read the word “selfie.” More than ever, we have the ability to only post what’s best. And with that, we are positioned like never before to be intimidated by others and convinced we aren’t good enough. In contrast, we seem to only remember our 9:00 a.m. message, where the crowd was still on their first cup of coffee and our production crew was, too.
It’s a dark place: the comparison between their highlight and our lowlight.
I guess we could go through a nice, neat list of what we should do in the face of everyone’s highlights, but honestly, we know what to do. Just compare yourself to yourself. Work to improve yourself every day, because your benchmark for comparison isn’t Andy Stanley, it’s you last week. You are the benchmark for your own growth and improvement. Your last message creates the perfect comparison for your next evaluation. Your last leadership decision is your newest leadership benchmark. Your last hire is your newest HR benchmark. Be your own benchmark, and become better by that comparison.
Be your own benchmark.
So I guess there is one or two good questions we should all ask ourselves: How are you improving? Who are you inviting into the process? We can always get better, but our best benchmark is always were we are today, not what we saw online from someone else’s 11:00 a.m. service.
- How are you intentionally evaluating and improving?
- Who are you inviting into the process?
We can always get better, but our best benchmark is always where we are today, not comparison of what we saw online from someone else yesterday.
This article about comparison originally appeared here, and is used by permission.