“What is that to you?” (John 21:22)
Years ago I heard Dr. Vernon Grounds, longtime president of Denver Seminary, share a story from a time in his early ministry when he was bring harshly criticized for some stands he had taken. The men criticizing him felt he should have been stronger or stated things more forcefully or done things a different way. They were so vocal that he could not ignore them. Eventually he became angry and discouraged. Then the Lord impressed upon his heart the passage in John 21:20-22 where Peter, evidently feeling a bit of apostolic competition, asks the Lord what will happen to the Apostle John. Here is the Lord’s answer in verse 22, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." It’s a polite way of saying, “What happens to John is none of your business.” The King James Version renders the last phrase this way, "Follow thou me.”
Dr. Grounds said the Lord used those three words to set him free.
“Follow me, and don’t worry about anyone else.”
“Follow me, and I’ll take care of the others.”
“Follow me, and you’ll have plenty to do.
Here is our calling put simply:
Feed God’s sheep.
If we do that, we are successful already, and when our work is done, we will discover that the Lord made more of what we did than we knew while we were on the earth. The applause of heaven will welcome us home, and that’s the only success that really matters.
Lord Jesus, we pray to be delivered from our desperate need to compare ourselves to others. Grant us a single-minded devotion to follow wherever you lead. Amen.
Why do we feel the need to compare ourselves to others? Is there a sense in which such comparison can be helpful? When does it cross the line into unhealthy competition? What are the signs that you have crossed that line? Ask the Lord to give you a single-minded focus on him today.