“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’” John 21:21–22
Sometimes I think that we worry too much about whether or not people are treated fairly but don’t worry enough that people are treated the way they need to be treated.
What do I mean by this? Let me give you an example.
For the past two decades I’ve been a Pastor caring for districts made up of multiple churches. During that time I’ve always tried to make sure that each church I pastored got from me an equal amount of my time and attention. Doing things this way always seemed to me to be fair and equitable. But now I’m starting to think that I haven’t been looking at the situation the right way. Perhaps people and churches don’t need to be treated fairly so much as they need to be treated in ways that are in balance with the needs and opportunities present.
Just to be clear, I’m not advocating unjust treatment or wholesale neglect of one church and obvious favoritism for another. I’m just saying that sometimes getting the work done properly requires more attention for one person or church and that not giving that attention when it’s needed is, in fact, not doing the work properly.
What does all of this have to do with our focus text?
Jesus had just told Peter the manner in which he would die in his service for his Lord and right after this Peter looked at another disciple and asked, “What about this man?”
Peter was worried, or perhaps just curious, about what would happen to another one of Jesus’ disciples. “What’s going to happen to him Lord? Will he too give his life for you?” How would Peter have felt if he’d known that the disciple he was asking about would live nearly a century and be given a series of visions detailing the world events leading up to the final conflict with sin, the return of Christ for his children and the recreation of the world? Would that have seemed fair to him?
Christ isn’t looking to treat us all in a balanced way. We all get treated differently in harmony with the differences we possess and in harmony with the calling God has placed upon us.
Jesus response to Peter tells us exactly where our attention needs to be directed, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Don’t worry about him, Peter. Give your attention to one thing, following me.
To each of us today Jesus says the same. Don’t worry that I’m being unfair in my attention and blessings for others. Some will appear to carry heavier burdens than others and others will appear to be blessed more but don’t worry about that. Give your time and attention to only one concern. Are you following me?