Everyone wants to be the best at something, or at least we want to be SEEN as the best at something. Truth be known, most of us want to be at the top of the heap in just about everything. To help substantiate that effort, we tend to compare ourselves to others. But we do that comparison in a selective manner. We do so by choosing someone down the pecking order to use as a reference point.
A humorous illustration of that is found in one of Max Lucado’s leadership books. He is comparing the skills exhibited by various leaders as he scores everyone on a 1-5 basis. You know, from “far exceeds requirements” to “does not meet even minimum requirements”. As he compared the quality of someone’s work, the scores ranged from “leaps tall buildings with a single bound,” to “must take running start to leap over tall buildings,” to “can only leap over a short building or medium with no spires,” to “crashes into buildings when attempting to jump over them,” to “cannot recognize building at all, what’s more jump”.
And when he was focused on the issue of communications, the scores ranged from “talks with God,” to “talks with the angels,” to “talks to self,” to “argues with self,” to “loses those arguments”.
That comparison chart is funny, but the day to day comparisons that we tend to make are not. In fact, Paul specifically urges us to not “…classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves” (II Cor. 10:12). He goes on to say that when we measure ourselves in such a way, we are not wise. He finishes that discussion with the hope that our faith would grow until the only boasting we do is in the Lord.
Our job is not to evaluate our progress (spiritual or otherwise) against the progress of someone else. That is a faulty standard. Instead, the standard is God’s specific plan for our own lives. As believers in Jesus Christ, we were uniquely created, uniquely called and uniquely appointed for the tasks He chooses for us (see Jeremiah 1:4-10). It just does not matter what the other guy or gal is doing (or not doing). Look at how Jesus responded to that kind of question from John (John 21) or from Martha (Luke 10).
There will always be someone taller, shorter, smarter, more talented and less equipped in your sphere of life. We dare not waste time, energy, or spiritual gifts in the pursuit of “one upping” anyone. You and I fit in exactly where God intended us to fit. So the watch word for this week is…NO COMPARISONS!