It’s amazing, but on this day 20 years ago, I moved to Japan for the first time. Over these past 20 years, I can honestly say I have seen God work to touch the lives of people through me. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder how much I have really accomplished. I can’t help but wonder if I couldn’t have done more. I don’t know.
It would be so easy to compare myself with others and what they’re doing and get discouraged. There are others that I can look at who probably have a lot more to show for their ministry than I do.
And it’s humbling.
So as I look at these verses and meditate on them, they really make me think.
Paul tells us,
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (3)
If there is a humbling verse it’s this one. Because the truth is, none of us are really anything. We’d like to think of ourselves as something, but the truth is, all we are are unworthy servants simply doing our duty. (Luke 17:10) If we think we are more than that, we are only fooling ourselves. The only question we need to ask then is, “Am I doing my duty well?”
And so Paul says,
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. (4-5)
In other words, because we are God’s servants, each with our own individual duties which he has assigned to us, it’s a waste of time to compare ourselves to others and what they’re doing. Instead, we simply need to focus on what God has given us to do.
And any pride that we have in the things we have done for him should not come from thinking how great we are, or how much better we are than others. Rather any pride we feel should come from Jesus saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
So whenever we are tempted to compare ourselves to others, we should remember the words Jesus spoke to Peter when the latter asked about John and his destiny:
What is that to you? You must follow me. (John 21:22)
What are you focused on in your life?