We all tend to look around and see what is happening in other peoples’ lives. As a result, we cannot help but compare ourselves with them. This was what happened to the apostle Peter when Jesus told him the manner of death by which he would glorify God. He turned around and saw the apostle John following them and said, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:21-22). Indeed, there is a life that each one of us will live. Whether we will end this life victoriously or not depends on how we lived it. It will never depend on how others live their own lives.
The reason why we should never compare ourselves with others is that God has a plan for each one of us. No two individuals are the same – even twins. They have their own differences although they might have been born identical – eating the same food or brought up by their parents in the same manner. We are all perfectly and individually created by God. We have our own individual DNA. This truth was emphasized by King David when he said in his Psalm, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). We often wonder how God can actually monitor us in our day to day and moment by moment life, when there are billions of us. Well, it might help us fully understand this if we consider how a Global Positioning System (GPS) works. There are millions of drivers being guided by a GPS at any moment. This GPS monitors the drivers individually. If this small gadget, working hand in hand with satellites, can monitor millions of drivers in real time, how much more our God who created all things.
Because we are distinct from one another, there is no good reason for us to compare ourselves with others. If we do, it will be to our loss. Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). We all need to press on and live the lives that God designed for us. To keep looking back or around and comparing ourselves with others will be a distraction and a hindrance. Many give up their pursuit of what God planned for them because they are unable to keep up with the competition. They keep comparing themselves with the achievement of others and are discouraged when they are unable to keep up.
One of the reasons why we should never compare ourselves with others is for us to develop contentment. For as long as we keep looking around and comparing ourselves with others, we will never learn to live in contentment. We will always find someone better or richer than us. This will drive us towards competition, whether we are aware of it or not. We should heed what the Scriptures say, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5). If God is with us, we should be content with what we have for today because he will again provide tomorrow. For as long as we are with the Lord, he will always provide; hence, there is no reason for us to be fearful of what may happen tomorrow.
In rebuking the apostle Peter earlier, Jesus was actually telling him to mind his own business. In the same manner, the apostle Paul encouraged the believers in his epistle saying, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before” (1 Thess. 4:11). Since we are already busy as we are, why should we still want to meddle in the lives of others? And because we have a life to live, it will go well if we can give the needed concentration to our own lives. In this way, there will be no distractions that will come in the form of discontent and competition.
If ever we are to turn around and look at people, we should look for those who can be the subject of our love – people that we can lift up through our testimonies. This is the business that God wants us to mind. We need to obey the command of the Lord to love one another. There are many people out there that need the special touch of the Lord through us. Let us remember that after Jesus told Peter to mind his own business, he quickly added, “Follow me.” Yes, this should be our preoccupation. There is no better business that we can engage in than to do the work of the Father. Let us mind our own business and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. If others do not, that is their business and they will be made to account for their own action. May the Lord bless us as we follow him. Hallelujah!