Luke 14:27 “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
Recently, a dear friend lost a son at age 38. “What a shame”, “What a tragedy”, What a loss”… I am sure these words have been spoken and many others will come. Often, we don’t quite know what to say when someone has experienced a loss such as this. I have heard, “A parent should never have to bury their children; it should be the other way around” and that from an 82 year old woman who lost her son to a heroin overdose.
All around us, people are called to bear sometimes heavy and seemingly unbearable crosses while others paths seem easy, uneventful and blessed. Sometimes those crosses are self-inflicted while others have no earthly reason for their existence other than God has allowed this to come my way.
It is human nature for us to look upon others and say, “I sure wish I had their cross to bear” or even go so far as to blame God and say, “Why can’t you give me so and so’s cross – it would be so much easier”. Comparison helps our minds to quantify our burden. We weigh the burden by our own experiences and with our own set of rules and judgments.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day though they had the authority to make rulings based upon their interpretation of the law. When Jesus came, He revealed that looking at others, I must do so with the eyes and heart of my Heavenly Father and leave to Him the judgment or cross placed upon this one or that one.
Quite frankly, I have enough trouble keeping the weeds out of my own garden, let alone taking up the care of another’s. We are so quick to render a preference, prejudice, or opinion about someone or something without giving thought as to how that comment will be received. We feel we have a right to our thoughts and express them so freely giving no thought to the damage it might cause.
Jesus gave his disciples the key:
Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
Forsake ‘all’… Many a parent has forsaken ‘all’ for their children, children for their parents, friends for one another, soldiers for their country and spouses for each other. When someone lays down their life for another, we say they gave the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus called it GREAT love:
John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Comparing our cross to another reveals our love for ourselves more than for the One for whom that cross represents. If you are saved, you and I became the purchased possession of God. God, the Father, bought the rights to our life – lock, stock and barrel. Every possession, every relationship, every decision, every thought, word or action that I think is mine, is now weighed in the balance to the One who bought me.
Comparison, by nature, is selfish, self-focused and self-centered. It regards “I” with far greater importance than any other and weighs it in the balance in light of ‘What’s in it for me?’ rather than, ‘How will this reflect on my Savior?’
The disciples fought amongst themselves over who was the greatest – Jesus righted the conversation by placing the servant as the greatest. It should be the better part of maturity for us to grow into what is best for my Savior; not what’s best for me.
Paul admonished the immature, born again people of Corinth:
2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Today, may we leave off the comparisons we make and truly set our hearts, with love, to do what pleases Him!