Who’s the best? That’s a thought that often runs through the minds of so many in our competitive society. Our culture seems to be one of comparison – who has the best, who does this the best, that person did that better than you. In some situations, competition is great and necessary. You want the best players on a basketball team. You want the best athletes in the Olympics. You want the best taking care of you medically. But, sometimes this gets out of control.
If our world is about competition, then we are constantly in a comparison game. Why don’t I run better than he does? Why doesn’t my hair look like hers? Why is their house bigger than mine? Why does he play the piano so much better than I do? This is a no win game. We will always have someone to compare ourselves to. Even if we are the best at one thing, there are a ton of other things in our lives that someone else is better at.
This even spills over into our lives as Christians. She reads the Bible better than I do. He sings better than I do. That church has a better youth program. There are more people attending that church than mine. There are more younger people there. There are less activities here. And we find ourselves in another no win game of who is best.
Comparing ourselves to others can lead to envy, to a financial disaster, to anxiety and stress, to difficulties in relationships, and even to a church trying to be something other than what God intended.
How do we avoid this when it is so engrained in our culture? I think that we by taking a long difficult look at why we do what we do. What really is your motives? What really is driving you? What or who are you comparing yourself to? Who are you trying to emulate?
As a Christian, my focus has to be on following Christ. If I do that, then my comparison is…am I doing what I have been called to do. That doesn’t mean that I do it better than someone else. That means that I look at what God’s calling on my life is, and do that to the best of my ability. The same goes for the church. As the church, are we doing what God has called us…our fellowship…to do? While all churches are called to follow Christ as a community of believers, that looks different in every church. Worship and activities that are done may be different. One church may be called particularly to reach out in prison ministry while another may be called to carry out a feeding program. The point is that if every Christian is doing what he or she is called to do and every church is living out the calling God has for it – then working together – what a beautiful picture of Christ that becomes.
That leaves out the idea that I am doing something better than you. I am just doing what God has called me to do to the best of my abilities. That leaves out the idea that my church is better than yours. My church and your church are doing what God calls and we are working together towards a common goal. We serve and follow the same Lord. We should be working together. That means we can celebrate the successes of others. We can truly be excited for a church that is doing what God has called. We can celebrate with the pianist that has faithful given her life to that calling. It’s not a competition, it is an opportunity to work together to show the love of Christ to a world starving for it. That’s when the Body of Christ really makes a difference.
To conclude, I have one last thought:
Blessings as you seek to follow Christ in what he has called YOU to do.