When I hear somebody sigh, "Life is hard;" I am always tempted to ask, "Compared to what?" - Sydney J. HarrisA woman begging in Rajasthan, IndiaReference number: India07R_056

What Every Comparing-Prone Woman Needs to Know

This lovely woman’s photo found here by Dan Hutcheson, Creative Commons, cc

I can see it now. The twelve men hunkered down around a small Middle Eastern table, knees brushing up against each other, carefully trying to edge their muddy feet away from the clothing around them.

Similar to Mardi Gras or the Super Bowl, the city was flooded with people in for the big event of the Passover. Rented rooms, hotels, and banquet halls were going fast, and this leased room didn’t appear to have come with a hostess.

With no one there to handout the typical Hospitality Welcome package of a wet towel to clean up from the day’s travels, each man had strode in, stood awkwardly by the door for a moment, and then crouched down at the table. Even the marvels of Roman engineering couldn’t halt the dust and mud that accumulated after just minutes of treading on the busy roads outside.

Striving to look nonchalant, the twelve men skipped the traditional step of washing off the day’s dirt, and stooped low to eat. Scooping fragrant garlic hummus and eggplant mousaka into folds of brown pita bread, they laughed and ate, pausing to pop oiled olives into their mouths.

Mid-meal, their teacher stopped eating, brushed some crumbs from his face, and stood up.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was around his waist. (John 13:3-5)

I am struck each time I read this by the word “so.” Grammatically and linguistically, the two parts of that sentence are linked and clearly connected. Knowing who he was, and where he was going, compelled Jesus to serve. Knowing who he was and his purpose freed him to set aside any needs to prove he was the best, the highest, the most acclaimed. Knowing who he was freed him to serve in humble joyful love.

In my day to day life, when I remember who I am in Jesus and what my purpose in life is, I am freed to humbly serve others. When I remember who God says I am, I don’t need to be threatened by others’ successes or failures, nor do I need to compare myself, worrying that I am falling short. 

Knowing who we are in God’s eyes and why we are here, we can then pause and love others in humble joy. And our true audience? He’s watching and smiling. 

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  1. Floyd on March 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Great reminder of the humility that we're called to. Our society of pride is so the opposite and is so easy to get caught up in the lies of the flesh and enemy.

    I like the way you brought the picture of the Last Supper into a real life and easily pictured scenario. Good stuff. I could almost see my Savior wrapping himself to serve… Mind boggling…

  2. Dontmissyoursunsetlady on March 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I must tell you I feel so honored to follow your blog, you are farther down the path than me, and I am so encouraged by your skill and wisdom.

  3. Cheryl Barker on March 3, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Wonderful insight, Jennifer. I don't think I'd ever thought of that passage in quite that way before. Freeing indeed!

  4. Jayne on March 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I find it is the smallest words in the Bible that have the most impact. Words like "so" and "all." I have never thought about this passage this way before. I never thought about the fact that knowing who I am in Christ frees me to serve humbly. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Jennifer Dougan on March 4, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I agree, Floyd. Me too.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer Dougan

  6. Jennifer Dougan on March 4, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Oh TJ, I'm not any further down the path, my friend. We are both just stumbling broken people chasing after our patient loving God who smiles at us. How mind-blowing that he delights in us and sculpts us!

    Thank you for your kind encouragement. I'm glad you are here too, TJ.

    Sisters in Jesus together,

  7. Jennifer Dougan on March 4, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Thanks, Cheryl. Always nice to have you here.


  8. Jennifer Dougan on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Jayne, isn't it true!? I'm glad that this encouraged you too. I found it exciting for my own life. 🙂

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

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