Of course, four year old Judah was not quite up to his older brother’s antics. He tried his best to follow him in the same places, at the same speed, and usually wound up losing it on a curve. Finally he stopped, turned down his little lip and said, “I can’t do it good.”
Of course he could; he was doing just fine for his age. He just couldn’t do what his big brother could. While there isn’t much difference between forty-four and forty-seven, there is a lot of difference between four and seven.
And too often that’s what we do. We judge ourselves against people who are older, wiser, and more experienced. I see this woman handling a life threatening illness like cancer and I can’t even handle the flu without getting grumpy and complaining. One man sees another teach an outstanding class on Zechariah and he can’t even give a decent five-minute Wednesday night talk. And both become so depressed they stop doing what they can do.
And if we aren’t careful, instead of gradually growing and learning how, we give up too. Or we blame it on God for our lack of talent, or on our parents for not making us do our lessons as children, or for not taking us to church, or on the church for not using us as we “ought to be used,” regardless of what we can and cannot do. Any of those is our handy alibi for sitting down and doing nothing.
The day that Judah complained was a Sunday. “Guess what?” I asked him.
His big blue eyes turned up to me as he said, “What?”
“Tomorrow is Monday and Silas will be at school. That means you can practice your scooter all day if you want to and before long, you will be as good as he is. And by his age, maybe even better!”
He gave me a lop-sided grin like he wasn’t sure about that. “Really?” he asked.
“Really!” I said. And he hasn’t given up. He knows he needs to work at it, but he also knows that he will get better. He already has.
And that’s what we need to remember. Plus this: God doesn’t compare us to brother or sister Whozit. He knows what we can and cannot do. He is the one who decides what we are capable of—not us! And if we keep on trying, we will “do it good,” good enough to please a gracious Father.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1Pet 2:1-3)