Comparison Forest was a strange forest indeed.
The fact that it had a lot of different types of trees in it didn’t make it strange. What made Comparison Forest unique was how all the trees compared themselves with each other.
The maples all tried hard to stretch their branches higher, hoping to achieve the oak’s height. They wished they could produce the acorns the squirrels and other animals loved so well. Sometimes, one could even hear an audible sigh in the forest as the maples lamented not being oaks. The fact that they offered brilliant colors each fall and delicious syrup each spring (plus seeds the animals loved) didn’t seem very important to them.
On the flip side, the oaks could often be seen drooping their branches in an attempt to look like maples. They felt terrible about being so large and conspicuous. Why couldn’t they be maples?
Then there were the pine trees. They hated how sappy and prickly they were (and how soft their wood was) and wished they could have beautiful leaves and firmer wood like the maples and oaks. It didn’t occur to them what protection and beauty they provided during the winter months when the maples and oaks lost those leaves.
Each tree in the forest was too busy comparing to realize that each of them had a role to play and gift to give.
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:…” Romans 12:4-6 (ESV)