I am often struck by how quickly I can move into the mode of comparison, which brings to mind Matthew 20 and the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The owner hires men to work the entire day at a set wage, a transaction which pleases the men until they learn at the end of the day that other workers were paid the same amount for less work. The original workers were blind to the owner’s faithfulness to them, because all they could see was his different faithfulness to others. Today’s passage shows us a similar situation in which grasping for comparison, or even a greater context, can distract and misguide us.
- How is the Lord’s faithfulness to you expressed differently than it is to others close to you?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 21:20-25 (ESV)
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Who was the disciple whom Jesus loved?
- As you observe verse 22, what do you think Jesus was getting at?
- Peter had just received a specific call from Jesus and then got caught up wondering about other people. How might this be a familiar theme in your life as well?
- What one comparison distracts you from your calling in Christ? What one comparison robs you of joy?
- Verse 25 touches on the bigness of God and the multitude of stories that were never revealed about the life and ministry of Christ. When was the last time you were taken aback by encountering, or trying to fathom, God’s size and ability?
RESPOND TO GOD
Most of us have heard that comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison is connected to judgment and often creates envy, or a false sense of gratitude. Christ’s call on Peter’s life was to follow him, with an emphasis on relationally staying connected to and motivated by the person of Jesus. God loves and blesses how he pleases. Those things are his to give, and while all are different, all are good. We can adequately follow the goodness of our call with Christ if we stay focused on him relationally. When other people’s blessings and calls become threats to us, we lose the ability to sit with those who mourn and celebrate with those who succeed.
- Pray through what distractions might be in the way of leaning further into God’s unique call on your life.