By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
I’ve always been tall.
Even as a kid, I looked down on everyone around me, reached the top shelf, and hung my coat on the highest hook.
I prided myself on my height.
At one point, I had a teacher who would always ask us to line up, shortest to tallest, whenever we would traverse the hallways. I guess it was a way to get past petty arguments about who should be “first”. When asked to line up according to our height, everyone would size each other up. When it was too close to call, some would stand back to back, sliding their flat palm across the top of their head, feeling for a slight difference in height.
I never had to do this.
While everyone else took the time to figure out where they belonged in the line, I leisurely made my way to the back, reserved for the tallest in the class.
That was my place. I felt at home there.
That was, until after Christmas break, when the new kid came to class.
Domonic. I knew from the moment he stepped in the door that my place in line was in jeopardy. He had dark hair and a crooked smile that most kids have when they are in the middle of building into their mouth chock-full of new adult teeth. His feet looked like they were growing faster than his body, causing him to walk funny.
The first day that Domonic came to class, I knew I was in trouble. I sweated bullets the entire morning, dreading the moment of truth.
“Okay, time for lunch. Everyone line up, shortest to tallest,” my teacher called.
I looked at Domonic. He got up from his chair and made his way to the back of the line. My spot…
I hurried over to him. Without saying a word we looked at each other, up and down. We couldn’t decide who was taller. So, now comes the test.
We stood back to back. I stood up straight and stretched myself as much as I could. We both used our hands to determine the winner.
“I think I’m just a little taller,” said Domonic.
I was devastated. I took my place in the SECOND-to-last place in line.
Of course, my resentment didn’t last long. Because we were always in line next to each other, Domonic and I became good friends.
But this story illustrates a burden that so many of us carry.
As humans, we are constantly determining where we measure up. Whether we know it or not, we are placing ourselves in the hierarchy of those around us to determine our place in line.
This problem of comparison is a source of great anxiety for us. The smart people fear someone smarter may come along. The rich always fear someone richer. The popular fear someone popular. The spiritual fear someone more spiritual.
Thankfully, Christ offers us a solution to the burden of comparison.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
When we can submit ourselves to Christ, he can remove the burden of comparison. Suddenly, we realize that we are not required to please the world, but only our God.
This Christmas, may we realize what rest is found when we find we no longer have to measure up but instead, we lay ourselves down.
Read more of this Advent Devotional and other Daily Pursuits at www.dailypursuits.blog