“What Is That To You? You Follow Me!”

“So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’” (John 21:21-22)

After Jesus told Peter the kind of death he would die to glorify God, Peter turned around and asked Jesus about “this man” — most likely John. Jesus’ answer is instructive not only to Peter, but to all of us who would compare God’s dealings with us to those He has with others.

Jesus told Peter: “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”  In other words, don’t compare the circumstances God has allotted to you, to those He has granted other people. What He does or does not give them is irrelevant to you. YOU follow Him!

— Like Peter and John, someone else may live longer than you are. Why? That is God’s business, not yours; you follow Him!
— Or you may know someone else who seems to have more blessings than you do. Don’t worry about it; you follow Him!
— Or instead, there may be someone whose life you are troubled by, because they seem to have so many more burdens than you do. Why has God allowed them to suffer so much, while you seem to have a much easier path? You can’t change any of that by worrying about it (Matthew 6:27) God will give each of you the grace you need. You follow Him.
— There are a lot of things in life that don’t seem “fair.” You can’t focus on that. You follow Him.

The bottom line is, that what God does or does not do for you in relation to other people may not always make sense to you. Don’t compare. Every person’s situation is different, and God has His individual plans for each of us, that further His purposes and glorify Him. One of the worst things you can do is to compare/contrast yourself with them, and ask questions, and wonder “why?” You can’t know! God’s sovereign plan is far beyond our limited comprehension. You could almost go mad — or worse, become bitter in spirit from dwelling on it too much: why don’t I have those blessings? Why don’t I live as long as they do? Why don’t I have his big church, or their recognition, or her looks, or his abilities, or their family, or their prosperity, or their mind — or a million other things? You can’t know it. You can only trust that God’s plans are appropriate for each of you, in His will. His command to you is just like it was to Peter:  leave all the rest of that to Him, and “You follow Me!”

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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