Comparison is not your friend
Right at the end of the last chapter of John’s Gospel, there is a conversation between Peter and Jesus. Jesus has just told Peter he will end up dying as a result of choosing to follow him. This is how the rest of the conversation then unfolds:
When Peter saw [his fellow disciple], he asked, “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, NIV)
So, Peter has just been told he will die for following Jesus. His response to this is to immediately ask about one of his fellow disciples. In other words: “Please tell me it’s not just me.”
But Jesus reprimands him.
In essence he says, “Everyone’s path is not the same. Don’t worry about what happens to anyone else — just make sure you do the right thing regardless.”
Clearly there is a specific context to this story, but there is truth here that resonates for all of us.
We all have choices to make in life. And the consequences of the choices we make won’t always be the same for you as they are for me. We have to make the right choices for the right reasons and be at peace with whatever outcomes come from those choices.
Comparing our lives and situations with others only leads to disappointment or jealousy. And it’s not worth it. We will waste away our lives if we spend them wondering about whether our lot in life is fair or not.
It’s so easy to look at other people’s lives and wonder and wish. Some people seem to have all the luck. But even if that was true — which it often isn’t — it’s not worth allowing our minds to dwell on it.
The path to discontentment is paved with comparison. And it won’t lead us to anywhere good. No matter what is going on in the lives of those around us, we have to avoid worrying about it. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that we stay true to our calling.