Am I a terrible person because one of the highlights of my week comes after I return my grandkids to their mother’s house early on Sunday afternoon. It’s not that I don’t love the daylights out of them and not that I don’t enjoy their company a good bit of the time. What drives me bonkers is the way that they pick at each other.
One of them specifically has moved into a season of life when he seems to love nothing more than to point out his brothers’ flaws. This Sunday, he exploded when one brother dropped a loose piece of trash on the floor at the church. Then a few minutes later, he was laying into his other brother over some hyper-important detail of a video game.
Although this sort of thing makes me a little bit crazy, I have to note that the behavior is not unique to a preteen boy in Kansas City. Almost universally, people do a better job of seeing the issues with others than they do with seeing their own.
This morning, I was reading over John 21, when I noticed the curious piece at the chapter’s and book’s end. After going through the whole “do you love me?” exchange with Jesus, Peter looks over his shoulder and spies John. “What about him?” he asks.
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
“If I want him to remain until I come,” Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”–John 21:21-22
“What is that to you?” That could be the most significant question that Jesus ever asks. In fact, in John’s account of things, these are the last recorded words of Jesus before His resurrection. It’s not that John didn’t think that Jesus spoke the Great Commission and related things just before He ascended–after all, John was there–but for his gospel, these are the words that John elected for a closer.
And what profound words they are. Essentially Jesus is asking, “Why are you concerned about his fate? Just follow me.” Let’s apply this to today:
- Why do you care if your brother drops a piece of paper? You follow me!
- Why do you care if your brother is wrong about a video game? You follow me!
- Why do you care if this sister has more talent than you? You follow me!
- Why do you care if that brother doesn’t stick to his diet? You follow me!
Obviously, Jesus wasn’t calling Peter to apathy. After all, he’d just told Peter to feed the sheep several times. What he was calling Peter to do was set aside that very human tendency toward jealousy and comparison.
Following Jesus, we’ll need to keep our eyes on Him. If we also feed and care for the sheep, then any spare attention we have has just been claimed. If I dedicate myself to those endeavors, the opportunity to covet and compare almost totally disappears.
As for you, follow me. Indeed.