Tall Poppy Syndrome

When someone grows just a little taller than the others, everyone works to cut them down.

Genesis 26:1-35

Reference: v.16  Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” (NIV Bible)

Explore: We are now living in a time of Global Financial Crisis (GFC).  These words have become very common place in our media and general conversations over the last four to six months.  And I get the feeling that they will not go away very quickly.  The GFC has a huge impact on everyone.  Interest rates are down yet prices are going up.  We’re all preparing ourselves for harder times.
It seems that Isaac was living during a financial crisis too.  There was a famine across the land and it seems as though this was the second famine in a fairly short time frame.  And yet, because God keeps His promises and He kept His promise to Abraham, Isaac prospered even during this time of famine.  And we know, that when someone is prospering when everyone else is struggling, that we need to pull them down to the lower levels too, right?!  Even the King did not seem that comfortable about Isaac’s prosperity during such difficult times.  So King Abimelech asked Isaac to move on.

Application: Other people don’t always want us to prosper.  In our country we have the good old ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.  When someone grows just a little taller than the others, everyone works to cut them down.  We don’t rejoice in other people’s success, we become suspicious of it and work towards tearing them down.  We see people as a threat and want to bring them down, lower than the level we stand on so we can feel slightly superior.  It doesn’t matter whether the success comes in the area of finances, popularity or talent, the tall poppy syndrome is alive and well.
But God does not adher to this syndrome. He desires to build us up, to have us prosper and to grow and develop.  It may not be in the ways of this world, but if we are growing and prospering for Him then there is no better place we can be.  Other people may not understand us, they may despise us and try to tear us down.  But our God will never push us away, ask us to move on or try to push us lower.  Jesus said, “I have come so that you may have life, and have it to it’s fullest.”

Prayer: Lord, so often we desire the charms and accolades from this world.  May we only seek to gain our reward from You.  Amen.

Have you ever experienced the Tall Poppy Sydrome?  Have you ever felt yourself trying to tear someone else down?

This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.