Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? Or perhaps you’ve compared your abilities or talents to someone else’s. Here is this week’s story …
Last week, while admiring the beautiful snowfall my mother casually remarked; “I’d love to have a bowl of homemade vegetable soup.” A few hours later, my brother’s wife Amy called to say she had just finished cooking a huge pot of homemade vegetable soup. She wanted to know if we’d like to have some. Laughingly, I told Amy how earlier in the day mother had said she’d love to have some homemade vegetable soup. Amy replied; “Good! I’ll send Andrew over with some now.”
After hanging up the phone, I told mother her soup was on the way. I wish you could have seen her grin.
Minutes later Andrew arrived and placed a large container of hot homemade vegetable soup on the dining room table where my mother was waiting with a small bowl, spoon, sleeve of Saltine crackers, salt and pepper shakers, and a glass of ice tea.
After pouring herself a bowlful of soup, tasting it, and declaring it delicious, mother urged me to have some. In the midst of writing a story and afraid I’d lose my train of thought if I stopped to eat, I told mother to enjoy the soup, that I’d eat some later on, and to leave it out on the table for me.
A couple of hours later, the story was written and I was hungry. I was about to go to the kitchen to heat up a bowl of Amy’s soup when my phone rang. It was my daughter, Joy. She said; “Mama, I’ve just cooked a big pot of homemade vegetable soup and I’m calling to see if you and Grandmama want some.” I laughed and told Joy that she was the second person that day to offer homemade vegetable soup and that her Grandmama had already eaten some that Amy had sent over, but that I hadn’t. Joy responded by saying; “I’m taking some soup to you now mama.” (My mother and I are blessed to have our families so nearby.)
It wasn’t long before Joy walked in carrying a big bowl of the homemade vegetable soup she’d cooked. Hungry and ready to eat, I took the bowl of soup from Joy’s hands and set it down on the dining room table. Inches away sat Amy’s container of soup that mother had left out for me.
A quick glance at the soups and you couldn’t help but notice that while both looked to be delicious, there were definite differences between them. Joy gave me a hug, and then hurried to the door to return home to eat with her family. Right before going out the door she called out; “Mama, I didn’t get home from work until this afternoon, so I cooked my vegetable soup using a quick and easy recipe.”
Just as my daughter Joy felt her soup might not be up to par with Amy’s soup … and thus the explanation for the “quick and easy recipe” I too, have felt inferior or not up to par when I’ve compared myself to others. Yes, I confess I’m guilty of “comparison”. How about you? Do you compare yourself to others? Do you ever feel like you’re not as good as … or up to par to others?
If the truth be told, I think we’d find that most of us, perhaps all of us, do compare ourselves with others in one way or another. If we delve a little deeper we might find that ‘comparison’ is a part of “human nature”. Thankfully, God understands how we humans are natured and addresses the ‘comparison’ issue in His Word. To put it briefly, God’s Word tells us that we’re going to be different from each other. Yet we each have our own special place in Christ’s body.
Therefore let’s not hesitate in doing good works whenever we feel inferior or not up to par. Just as my mother’s hunger was satisfied by Amy’s soup, likewise my hunger was satisfied by Joy’s soup. ‘Compared’ … the differences stood out and one soup might have ‘looked’ inferior to the other. Yet, when shared, both soups satisfied.
“So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” — Romans 12: 5-6 (MSG)