It is not good to compare ourselves with others, but it is wise to learn from others. Paul wrote: “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” (I Cor 11:1) It is interesting to examine reasons for words and actions. Of course, God alone knows hearts… and what He has accomplished in hearts.
For example, Peter gave the Good Confession when Jesus asked what people were saying about Him: “Who do you say I am?” “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus blessed Peter… but He knew the reason for his friend’s perfect answer: “This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.” (see Matt 16:13-20) In other words: “Right answer, Peter! But don’t take credit for it…”
Mary poured out the precious content of her alabaster jar despite the criticism of other believers in the room. Why did she do this? Perhaps Mary was so grateful her brother Lazarus had been raised from the dead that she was willing to offer her most treasured possession. Or perhaps God had revealed the true worth of His Son to Mary because she had once chosen simply to sit at the Master’s feet. (see Luke 10:38-42) Jesus gave another reason for Mary’s extravagant action: “Leave her alone… It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”(John 12:7)
Sometimes the best examples to follow are those who humbly choose simply to abide in Christ… with no fanfare. Such disciples tend to have an ever-increasing appreciation of God’s amazing work and a willingness to ‘become nothing’ so Jesus can become ‘everything.’ Paul knew he had not arrived (see Phil 3:12-14), but he gave the reason for living the way he did: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) In other words: Jesus is the Reason.
One day God will honor His children who aimed to listen to the Master’s voice and follow Him. They will be caught off guard by the praise of the King: “But Lord, when did we do this? We only did what You led us to do. Any reason for good in our lives on earth came directly from You. We did not realize when we loved a homeless person, or visited a guy in prison, or took care of a sick friend, or helped feed the hungry or cared for the orphan or served the widow… we were actually serving You. Jesus, You are our Reason… and You deserve all the glory.”
“Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me… Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.” (Matt 25:34-40)