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What is that to you?

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 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 20-23:22, NIV

“…what is that to you?” 

Jesus might as well have been talking to me as to Peter that day.  Why do I always compare how my life is going to how other lives are going?  Why am I prone to think that my life is harder and less rewarded than others or that I deserve more/better?  Others seem to work a lot less than I do, appear far less grateful for what they have, and yet keep on getting more and  enjoying “the easy life”.  At least, that’s what it looks like to from my point of view.  Wah!

Clearly Jesus was once again rebuking Peter for not focusing on his own relationship with Jesus rather than concerning himself with the blessings that might be coming someone else’s (John’s) way. Even for those of us intimately acquainted with Jesus, jealousy is sinister and ever present.  In fact, in terms of vocations, I cannot think of a prouder, more territorial and more “self-focused”  profession than those who work  as full-time Christian ministers. Pastors, priests, youth workers and worship leaders, are typically the biggest noise  in a room and can be downright childish if they think someone else is getting more attention or applause.  How totally contrary to what Jesus taught and lived.

“What is that to you”, that is to say, “Why aren’t you instead focusing on what I have done and given to you,  Peter?”  And that’s what he’s saying to me when I start to whimper as I  compare my life to others.  Jesus would say, “What does that matter to you, Dean, you do what I tell you, with what I have given you, and stop worrying about my plans for others.” 

How much more effective, efficient and pleasing to God my life would be if stopped juxtaposing my life to others, and instead compared it to Jesus.  It’s such a callow thing to fret that others might be having more fun than me.  This is my present challenge with two young sons—and they are only 11 and 13!  They can be altogether content and satisfied with where they are and what they have until the other one gets second scoop of ice cream, or a newer toy. Then their entire world collapses and with incredible pretexts and tears, and the “slighted” one begs me to get him the very thing that five minutes earlier he did not need or even imagine.

Could things in my life be better? Absolutely!  But things could be a lot more worse, and I have no way of knowing how “blessings” in my life might actually prove to make things worse.  Jesus knew what He was doing on giving Peter on path and John another path. He loved them both, but He also knew their skills, weaknesses, proclivities and where they would both serve best and in the best place to glorify God. That’s the point—-not my personal satisfaction with where I am, what I have and  the spot light shining on Him. It’s about God getting the glory—-that’s not going to change and I need to commit my life to that. He’ll take care of the rest of the story.


Dean Barley

1945 Vineyard Road

Westfield, NC 27053

336 351 2070

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