Regarding Distinct Paths…
So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man [what is in his future]? (John 21:21, AMP Bible)
Immediately after the meal Jesus reinstates Peter as an apostle, relieving him of his torment and guilt for denying Jesus right before he dies on the cross. Peter was relieved to be restored and forgiven; to have God’s grace bestowed upon him. Jesus invites Peter to come along with him and as they walked and talked intimately, Peter notices “the disciple whom Jesus loved” following close by and asks Jesus about this disciple’s future. What kind of ministry did the Lord have in mind for him? What would his life look like? Jesus responds by letting Peter know that was entirely up to Jesus, it was none of Peter’s concern.
John would have a task, a holy, divine assignment to fulfill just as Peter, Matthew, James, Mark, Luke, and all the rest, yet what had been chosen for them was not Peter’s concern. Peter was to enjoy the blessing of grace and being restored, he was to expend his energy focusing on what was his to do and Jesus would take care of the rest.
Jesus recognized Peter’s genuine concern and love for his friend, yet he wanted to make sure Peter did not waste time, nor spend time being concerned about anyone else except himself and what following Christ meant for his life. Jesus gently reminded Peter his concern for John’s future was misplaced just as our preoccupation for others and the paths Jesus has for them is also misplaced. We are not to concern ourselves with the futures of others, about their gifts and talents and how they use them. We are not to concern ourselves with the size of their ministries, how effective they are, if they are pursuing the right path or not, if God is pleased with the direction they have taken. The Lord’s plans for others is not ours to discern nor control, only becoming obedient to do, and go, and become whatever the Lord whispers to us.
When our work on earth is fulfilled, we will all end up in the same place (heaven), until then we can trust the Lord has all things and all the paths of those who love and follow him, in his care and under his control. Our paths may look differently but the same Lord designs them for his purposes and God’s glory. Let’s Pray,
What an awesome reminder Jesus, not to become overly concerned or try to control the paths of others. If we want to help, we should pray for them, that your Holy Spirit will be their constant guide and counselor in life so they are always aware of where they are to go and what they are to do. Amen
Reflective Questions for Self and Soul-Tending:
Have you ever felt like Peter concerning someone else and their path in life? When does our concern for others become attempts to control as opposed to being supportive?
How will you incorporate today’s message into your plan of self and soul-care?