Here are the blueberries we picked yesterday. And this is only the half that my mom didn’t take home! Over 85 pounds in two hours–definitely a record for us!
Our success was due, in part, to one particular picker. In years past, he filled his tummy more than his bucket, but this year, his bucket was filling up just as fast as mine. I kept commenting on how well he was doing, but he wasn’t pleased. He said, “I’m doing terrible. I’ve only filled one and a half buckets. Mamaw’s already filled two!”
I told him to stop comparing himself to a professional (that’s what we call my mom since she picked blueberries for pay when she was a teen). But he wouldn’t. Rather than being pleased with his contributions to our blueberry supply, he kept grumbling about his lack of success.
I was convicted. This is how I must sound, when I compare myself to other moms and wives, and grumble about the lack of spiritual fruit in my bucket.
In summer, the schedule relaxes, and we tend to be around friends more often. But my enjoyment of friendship is often contaminated with thoughts like, “Wow. Their kids get along so much better than mine.” And “I doubt she ever raises her voice to her kids the way I did last night.”
I’m tempted to think of this private exercise of noticing others’ qualities and comparing them to my own shortcomings as humility. But the grumpy blueberry picker who kept propping his bucket next to mine showed me what it really is: pride. A conceited person doesn’t like it when she’s outdone. A humble person busies herself with gathering fruit for the good of the whole family. She doesn’t worry about how her contributions compare with anyone else’s.
After listing out the fruits of the Spirit, Paul warns us to “not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Gal. 5:26) God wants me to cultivate fruit; not compare it.