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May 31, 2015

“Christ Washing the Apostles’ Feet” by Dirck van Baburen (c. 1616), Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Source Web Gallery of Art (Public Domain-Art, Age-100)

We are constantly being urged to compare ourselves to others.

If we fear there may be something lacking on our part, we are exhorted to rectify the perceived deficiency at once with newer cars, larger pools, faster boats, and more expensive homes. Better yet with miracle nostrums, cosmetic surgery, hair plugs, and younger wives.

This is deception on a grand scale. If we buy into it, we will never be satisfied with our lives, our relationships, or ourselves. Our priorities will be confined to our own ends, our energies directed to self-aggrandizement, and our time here wasted.

As Christians, we may consider ourselves above such things, immune to cultural influences. That, however, is a form of pride.

We compare gifts of the Spirit as if we had earned them. Those who speak in tongues criticize those who do not, and vice versa. Virtue is measured by readership, and merit by congregation size.

Paul cautioned, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord” (1 Cor.. 12: 4-5). This verse makes clear that gifts of the Spirit are entrusted to us for service to others. The full passage instructs us to view all gifts as of equal value.

We are not to seek praise for such gifts, and not to be discouraged because our gifts seem less “important” than those of someone else.

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise…But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor. 10: 12, 17-18).

I am reminded of the scene where the mother of the Apostles James and John asked that her sons be seated at Jesus’ right and left hand, in the next world. You will remember what the Lord said to His disciples:

“‘…[W]hoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many‘” (Matt. 20: 26-28).

Lord Jesus, forgive us our vanity. We are so easily tempted to focus on ourselves, rather than on serving others.

Help us to recognize this failing, and to resist the influences of a worldly culture.  Shift our attention from the temporal to the eternal that we may use our time and our talents for Your glory and the good of others, as You intended.

Help us to realize our sufficiency is in You.



  1. Okay…that was pretty convicting. Thanks…I think? Good one Anna. Wish you could write more, you always get to the point. Must be the lawyer in you!

    • Your compliment makes me blush, Wally. Thanks so much! Convicting?? Nah, not you. :0) I only have the energy for one post a week to each of the two blogs. That gives me six days to tinker with the next pair. I’ve learned to think of inspiration as manna. While He is faithful — always, of course — I’ll keep writing.

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