“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
My wife and I were at a pastor’s convention and one of the speakers preached from Psalm 29 on the voice of God. His point was that we are formed by whatever voice we regularly listen to. He asked if we were listening to the voice of destiny or comparison.
He said that when we stop listening to the voice of destiny, the voice of comparison will take over. The fruit of operating out of comparison will either be a competitiveness that wins by making sure others lose, or a complacency that comes from self pity because we don’t think we’re as good as someone else.
The problem is how deeply ingrained comparison is in our hearts. Jesus told the disciples at the last supper that one of them would betray Him. Luke 22:23 says that “they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.” But the argument about who was the worst quickly gave way to another one about who was the best because the very next verse says, “And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.” (Luke 22:24) We know Peter thought he was on top from his statement to Jesus, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” (Mark 14:29)
But the text above from John 21 finds Peter in a very different place. He has denied the Lord and has gone back to fishing. He used to think he was the best, but by now, we can imagine, he is convinced he is the worst. To bring him back to his destiny Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. When he says he does, Jesus recalls him into the ministry; “…feed My sheep; …tend My flock; …shepherd my lambs.” It’s not about whether Peter thinks he’s as good at it as someone else, it’s only about loving Jesus and doing what Jesus told him to do. Denying Jesus didn’t change his destiny any more than our failures change God’s destiny for us. God has factored our weaknesses, mistakes, and even our sins into His plan.
After receiving his instructions Peter did what we usually do, he looked at the guy next to him and asked, “What about him?” Jesus said, “What’s that to you? You follow me.” Our job isn’t to keep track of anyone else’s destiny, that’s between them and God. Our job is to get our eyes off of people and on to Jesus. Let’s fight off the persistent voice of comparison, so we can fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.