Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
Have you ever had a moment, even a brief one, where you’re in the middle of a project at work and you start thinking about… someone else. Say a friend at work. You and your friend started around the same time, and he or she is experiencing great success and you’re… well, you’re not. You’re slugging away at your job, just trying to make it through the day, and you can’t help but—just for a second—think, “Man, why does [insert name here] get all the breaks? I’m busting my tail and what do I have to show for it?”
I’ll be honest, I think about this every once in a while. I have some very talented friends, who are very gifted in many areas—including areas of ministry that I gravitate to. And in the past, I’ve found myself feeling really insecure about at least one of these folks, who I really don’t need to feel insecure around.
So I read this passage, and I was struck by the attitude of Peter. He’s talking to the resurrected Jesus, and he’s told, essentially, that it’s his job to lead the fledgling church, and that he’ll be following Jesus into a life of terrible suffering. Afterward, Peter immediately turns to look at John (the disciple whom Jesus loved), and wanted to know what Jesus’ plans were for him.
So, Jesus looks him square in the eye and tells him the truth: It doesn’t matter at all what Jesus’ plans are for John—Jesus’ plans for him don’t affect His plans for Peter. What matters for Peter is what Jesus has planned for Peter.
Perhaps I’m overstating things, but think about it: How much time to we waste fretting about what other people are doing? Feeling insecure about other folks who might outshine us in our area of ministry or our jobs or wherever?
How much time do we spend thinking about things that actually don’t affect us in the least?
There’s only one thing for us to be concerned with, and that’s doing what Jesus has called each of us to do. He’s crying out to many of us today, “Stop worrying about what he’s doing! And so what if she’s a better artist? You follow me!”
We are all only responsible for what God has charged each of us with, whether that’s something “glamorous” like publicly teaching, or doing set up and serving coffee on Sundays. There’s no varsity service in the eyes of God. There’s only the task He’s given to you and I.
I get really convicted when I see this crop up in my life, because I don’t want to compete with anyone. What I want is to see God glorified.
“You follow me,” says Jesus.
And that’s enough.