Mothers start comparing (and worrying) when their children are still babies. Tina is four months old and already has two teeth; Janie is seven months old and doesn’t have any. James was walking at eight months; Dustin’s first birthday is next week and he just learned how to stand.
For babies, it’s teeth and first steps. As we grow older, it’s status and rank and wealth and power. I don’t know who finished last in my high school class, but the one who finished first has a full-page photo in my yearbook. I’ve never seen a list of the poorest individuals in the world, but its easy to find a list of the world’s wealthiest. Jesus died for the last and the first, the poorest and the wealthiest, the eight-month-old who is walking and the almost-one-year-old who just learned to stand.
As Jesus and the apostles gathered to share the Passover meal on the night before the crucifixion, He told them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Jesus knew what was going to happen the next day. The contrast between the character of the Son of God and the character of the apostles was vivid that night. During the evening, He washed their feet, but they argued “as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest” (Luke 22:24).
While the Son of God served, the apostles competed. The Merriam-Webster definition of compete is:
— the act or process of trying to get or win something (such as a prize or a higher level of success) that someone else is also trying to get or win
I want my children and their children to rest in the sweet love of Jesus, knowing that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by their Creator. I want them to grow in Christ. I want them to use their talents. I want them to serve. I do not want them to compare themselves with others, but to compare themselves with what God teaches them in His Word.
Jesus’ beloved apostles wasted precious time on the last night they had with Him before the crucifixion. When they argued about status instead of soaking in those precious moments, Jesus taught them that:
The greatest among you
must become like the youngest,
and the leader like the servant.