8 Min Read

What you see is what you get.

Published on

April 12, 2021

Now and then, we fall into the human trait of comparison amongst ourselves — which is said to border on foolishness or a lack of understanding (See 2nd Corinthians 1:12). However, my focus is not on the direct comparison of persons, which often leads to feelings of superiority or inferiority. The focus is on the comparison of the underlying factors that produce the kinds of persons we are. For example, where you were born or which school you attended. Your body type, or which spoon you were born with (silver, wooden or none), etc.

While this type of comparison appears reasonable and seemingly harmless, it produces excuses that could easily be mistaken for logical reasons. These excuses provide reasons why you are not yielding desired results. For example, if only I was born in Canada, then I would be so so so. Or if I had her type of brain, or if my parents had money then I can do better than so so so. Maybe if I was given opportunities like they had, etc. If not dealt with, these excuses could potentially keep a person at the same level and unable to make any tangible progress in the related areas.

Comparison at this level is what leads to the “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side” mentality. People with this mentality tend to attribute the success of others to external factors. They assume that if they were in a similar environment, they would produce similar results. While seemingly harmless, this train of thought can be paralysing in the now.

“I See I Saw” — What You See is What You Get

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater” — Isaiah 55:10

The rain waters the earth, and the earth brings forth, but not necessarily two different things. Genesis 1:11–12 establishes what the earth yields (seeds and fruit with seeds). In Genesis 1:29, the entirety of this yield is defined as food. This implies that the eater has a legal right to have both the fruit and the seed as food/bread — i.e. the entirety of the yield is food. But to the sower, the earth’s yield is not just food, but also seed. The rain waters the earth, and the earth brings forth yield. This same yield is both seeds to the sower, and bread to the eater, depending on who’s looking at it.

A Sower engages in the rigour of sowing and reaping. An Eater is not necessarily looking to engage in sowing and reaping, but simply seeks to benefit from existing abundance with no thought of replenishing — expecting to reap where (and what) he did not sow.

The “grass” is akin to your giftings, environment, endowment or seeming lack thereof. How you perceive your “grass” is more dependent on who you are and/or the knowledge you have than what the gifting is. The Law of the Instrument explains this cognitive bias in a simple statement, “to a man with a hammer (a carpenter), everything looks like a nail”.

Here’s something interesting. Jacob used this same strategy/principle in Genesis 30 to obtain his pay from Laban. The cattle produced either spotted or non-spotted offspring based on what they saw!

The “Grass is Greener on the other side” mentality is heavily influenced by the personality of the eater. The biblical example that comes to mind is the story of Abraham and Lot as recorded in Genesis 13. Abraham and Lot were owners of large animal herds who travelled together out of Egypt into Canaan towards Bethel. It would be important to note that Abraham and Lot were in Canaan earlier, but went to Egypt because there was a grievous famine in Canaan (See Genesis 12:6–10).

In Gen 13:6, the Bible records that upon returning, the land was unable to bear both Abraham and Lot because of the combined size of their herd. This inability for the land to cater for both of them may also have been due to the famine in the land. This resulted in quarrels between their herdsmen and the proposed solution was for them to go their separate ways. Lot was asked to choose between two locations. How did Lot make this decision?

“And Lot lifted his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord…” — Genesis 13:10

Here is an interesting side note. When God called Abraham in Genesis 12, He promises to make Abraham a great nation and to give his seed (singular) the land. By Genesis 13, after Lot left, God blessed Abraham again, but this time multiplying his seed to be innumerable as the dust of the earth.

What’s that you have in your hands?

The “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side” mentality is like a double-edged sword; it plays up the eater personality and downplays the seeds in your hand. With this mentality, one sees “greener grasses” as a place to aspire to not by sowing, but by occupation. In some cases, this ends at wishful thinking as they are things of the past.

For example, where you were born or who your parents are, etc. This mentality also causes one to postpone action, happiness or fulfilment until “the environment is right”. So you wait until you get that job, or until you have that money, or until you…all the while ignoring the seed that can be sown now.

In Exodus 4:2, we see the encounter between God and Moses. At the end of that encounter, the walking staff had become a magic staff capable of turning into a snake and back. By the time Moses gets to Egypt, the same walking staff was capable of much more. By the time we get to the Red Sea, the same staff plays a critical role in saving the Israelites. The same staff, that was “just a staff” in Exodus 4.

God has promised to bless the works of your hand (Deuteronomy 28), but if you do not see what’s in your hand as a seed capable of producing results even a barren land, you would not put it to work now, and there would be nothing to bless. You would end up burying it like the man with one talent, or worse — eating it.

We walk by faith and not by sight! Faith — likened to a mustard seed — operates on the principle of sowing and reaping. Faith is the evidence (seed) of things not seen. Sight, on the other hand, works on the principle of the “greener grass” and has no multiplication effect.

You may have been called to a land flowing with milk and honey, but as you journey there, what’s that you have in your hand? And before you’re quick to say nothing, Matthew 25:29 reveals two things –

1. Everybody has something
2. The Law of Use and Disuse

“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” — Matthew 25:29

As you go into the week, I encourage you to take note of areas your mind attempts to play a “greener grass” card and lookout for opportunities to sow in that area.

Do have a productive week!

Itoro Nehemiah

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