I love this cartoon because it helps us to laugh at something we all sometimes do: compare our children.
Okay, I don’t want to ASSUME you have fallen into this trap (I know I certainly have!). So please forgive me if you have never done this and give the Pope a holler because I think it’s high time you are promoted to sainthood status.
If there was ANY mom in the history of the world that had the right to compare her son to other children (and maybe even gloat a bit), it was Mary! While other boys were kicking around balls in the dirt, Jesus tossed aside his cleats and threw on a yamaka to have a chat about life with the greatest minds of his time in the temple. Think Home Alone kid meets Noble Peace prize winners and United State Presidents and “AMAZES” them (Luke 2:47). Did I mention he was only 12 years old at this time?!
Mary could’ve slipped that one into a conversation during ladies’ night out (on the donkeys), “Oh, what’s Jesus been up to now that he turned twelve? Not too much…it’s just been hard having our mailbox crammed with letters from Harvard and Yale begging our son to attend next year. And I can’t keep enough unleavened bread around to serve all the philosophers and professors that swing by to ask Jesus for some advice. I think he gets those brains from me. By the way, has Levi learned how to tie his sandals yet?”
As Jesus grew into a man of “wisdom and stature, (a man) in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52), Mary had even MORE reason to compare and do a little bragging.
“How’s your grandma been, Tabitha? Why don’t you have her stop by the next time she’s cruising through town on that mule so Jesus can heal her of being blind. Have you been catching some of the news-parchment headlines about Jesus? The way he fed over 5,000 people last week from just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish made the front page!”
But what I LOVE about Mary is she knew it wasn’t about her. Shortly after she learned she was pregnant with the Son of the Most High (there is a surprise during the ultrasound visit, “Boy or girl?” “Actually, it’s the Son of God.” “Oh…neat!”), she said these words about it to her dear cousin, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave…” (Luke 1:47-48) She didn’t think she was ALL THAT and a bag of kosher chips just because God had chosen her to raise the King of the Universe. She gave HIM glory and saw herself as a mere bond slave (means indentured servant, one who serves without expecting anything in return).
She knew a fantastic secret that would keep things in perspective for all of us if we lived by it; It’s all about God.
Let me just say it this way, so your kid walked at seven months and your friend’s little girl is still crawling at twelve months…whoop-de-do. Maybe that same girl will end up winning the state title in gymnastics one day. Maybe her gifting will be a beautiful voice. Perhaps you felt bad because a co-worker mentioned how her son brings home straight A’s and your boy struggles to get a B. Don’t sweat it, sister! Your son may be a gifted artist or a determined running back that carries his team into a great victory one day. Or maybe your child will be a remarkable listener or kind friend that lifts people’s spirits everyday.
The point is we really can’t take credit for all of the wonderful things our kids do because we didn’t make them! Oh good, does that mean we don’t have to take the blame for the naughty things they do too? Hmm..it probably doesn’t work that way! Lord knows this also applies to any good looks that may have been bestowed upon them!
I admit, we can help to develop their God given passions and gifts. In fact, I think it is crucial to do that, but the success that comes from those things ultimately points to the fact that they are a stunning creation of a Creative and Wise Creator.
Also, what do we want to model to our children? The greatest competition for our children should be themselves as they set their own goals and strive to meet and celebrate these standards. I once heard a quote I love that "contentment ends where comparison begins." So true.
So take a lesson from the mother of the greatest kid on earth who grew up to save the world. We’re just the steward of an amazing little life for a fraction of time. And think of this, because Mary lived a life that was not all about her but all about God, the Pope really did promote her to sainthood.
You never know what could happen with a life lived in service to the King.