When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.” John 21: 21-23
With my kids getting older, my boundaries are getting pushed and stretched far more than I’d like. Whether it’s the boys going off with friends in cars, or Jocelyn wanting to wear very short shorts, I’m constantly having to reexamine and reestablish what I will and won’t allow.
I know I need to be flexible and give them more leeway. But a line always has to be drawn that shouldn’t be crossed.
The few times they’ve attempted to cross my lines, they’ve referenced friends who are allowed to do what I’m prohibiting. That’s when I have to remind them that as MY kids, they have to follow MY rules, not anyone else’s. Then, because it’s fun, I throw out the old adage, “If they jumped off a bridge, would you?”
Jesus had the same exchange with Peter. And He has it with me too.
When Jesus told Peter, in so many words in John 21, that he would die the same death as Jesus, Peter wanted to drag John along too. But that wasn’t Jesus’ plan for John, nor was it any of Peter’s business. Peter needed to keep his focus on God’s plan for him. It was designed specifically for him, unique to his circumstances and his gifts. Peter wasn’t supposed to compare it to the plan for others, nor negotiate the terms. He was supposed to trust God’s will for him, and put his heart and soul into living it out.
On my bad days, I’m a Peter through and through. I look around at others who seem to have it easier, or have more than I do. I find myself saying, “What about her? How come she’s more put together than I am? How come she’s achieving more? How come she takes nicer vacations and always seems to be having more fun?” That’s when I hear Jesus say to me, “What is it to you? You must follow Me.”
On those bad days, it’s harder to hear those words and the message behind them., But when I remind myself that my loving Father has designed a special plan for me, unique to my circumstances and my gifts, it’s easier to follow His rules and resume living out His will for me.
Questions for Reflection:
- Do I fall victim to the comparison game, asking “What about her?”
- How do I prevent myself from falling into that trap?