Friday, August 4, 2017

Jesus' Cure for Frustration Over Other People's Business

Have you ever worried about how God is handling other people’s business? Sometimes out of love and sometimes out of more negative emotions - resentment, frustration - you find yourself unsettled because of what’s happening in someone else’s life.

Even one of Jesus’ apostles was not immune from being stirred up about somebody else’s business. (Of course the apostle was Peter, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.)

Peter had had a very public melt-down the night of Jesus’ betrayal. After  the resurrection Christ challenged and restored Peter. There on the shore of the Sea of Galilee Jesus patiently and gently put Peter back where he needed to be. The Savior’s thrice repeated question to Peter - “Do you love Me?” - was followed by a threefold commission:  “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

So far so good. But then Peter noticed he and the Lord were not alone as they walked along the lake. John was following them. Perhaps out of exasperation, or maybe out of curiosity, Peter said, “Lord, what about this man?” (v. 20)

Peter might have felt a twinge of jealousy. After all, John’s own title for himself was “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John sat at Jesus’ right hand at the Last Supper, and in order to ask Jesus a question, Peter had to send it through John. (See John 13:23-24).

So maybe Peter felt John’s presence that day as a bit intrusive. “Lord, come on. What’s the deal with that guy?”

Jesus’ answer: “What is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:21b)

In other words, “Peter, I’m telling you only your own story. Let Me worry about John. Just focus on what I’ve called you to do and all will be well.”

Maybe like me, you have moments when other people’s business is a great worry, or irritant, or outrage. Jesus’ counsel to Peter has been helpful.

“Lord, what about the ungodly people who seemed to be prospering in life. If you want, I can name names. And here I am, trying to do the right thing, play by the rules, and I’m basically left in the dust.”  “What is that to you? You follow Me!"

“Okay, but to be honest, Lord, there’s a guy I went to school with - never the sharpest knife in the drawer. And yet he has risen to the top economically and I’m still stuck at the same place. What about him?”  “What is that to you? You follow Me!"

“But can I also mention my grown kids? I did my best to raise them right, but I still worry about their decisions. I want to warn them, but they really aren’t in the advice-seeking mode these days.”  “What is that to you? You follow Me!"

“I hear You. But could I just bring up one more thing, Lord? It seems like the world is crumbling around me. What are you doing about the 'news' media, lying politicians, snowflakes who are always offended, crazy people with their fingers on the nuclear button, the clueless Hollywood crowd - I’m about to lose my mind. You know what I mean?” “What is that to you? You follow Me!"

It turns out that “sovereignty” isn’t just a big word for one of God’s “attributes.” It is a practical truth that says the same Jesus who claimed you for His own, died for you, rose again and went to heaven to make a place for you, and continually prays for you at the right hand of the Father - that same Jesus is working all things out after the counsel of His will. One day every wrong will be set right, and in the meantime He promises to care for you and bring you safely home no matter what. So chill.