Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Head That Once Was Crowned"1 (Lyrics)
John 21:20-22 – Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." (NIV)
Raising two large puppies at the same time is quite an adventure and a real challenge. At present, I am seeking to instruct them to heel when we are out walking. As the one pup, Sophie, is two months older than Bonnie, I sometimes instruct Sophie to obey the command to heel, but allow Bonnie more free time. When this occurs, Sophie really has a struggle to follow my instruction, as she sees that Bonnie is not required to do so.
The other day as I was working with her in regard to obeying what I had asked her to do, I found myself saying, "Stop looking at Bonnie, and you, Sophie, follow me." As soon as the words were out of my mouth, today's Scripture popped into my mind, and I wondered how many times Jesus has had to say those same words to me and to us as His children.
So often, our eyes are focused upon what others are doing or not doing for the Lord, instead of being focused on what we are to be doing. So often, we struggle with envy or jealousy concerning the talents, gifts, or tasks that God has given to others, instead of being thankful for what we have received, and having the faith to believe — as we present our gifts back to Him — that He will indeed use and multiply and bless them for His kingdom. So often, we think that what God has asked others to do is so much more exciting or important than what we are asked to do, and yet, anything that God instructs us to do is an exciting, important part of His eternal plan, a small part of His larger picture.
This year, in light of Jesus' words to Peter, may each of us simply strive to follow His instruction in regard to what He would have us to do, and not to worry about what anybody else is doing — for after all, what is that to us?
Prayer: Father God, You have called us to follow Jesus. Strengthen us this day and each and every day this year to simply do that, and not be looking with longing or envy or jealousy about the works You have called others to do or not to do, but simply be taking pleasure and joy in what You have called us to do. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.