Ministry Updates for Saturday, April 18th, 2020
Scripture for Reflection – John 21:20-23 (You may want to re-read vs. 1-19 as well)
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
Reflection – Is Life Fair?
‘The disciple whom Jesus loved’ was John’s poetic device to avoid referring to himself in a more direct manner. Peter was greatly challenged by Jesus again and again during their time together. In this story, Jesus has challenged Peter once again to lead his movement. Peter makes one last shot at resisting. He says to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Peter seems to be saying, ‘How come you ask so much of me? It seems like you never ask anything of John.’ In childhood parlance, Peter is looking at Jesus, pointing at John and complaining, ‘No fair’.
I am convinced that life isn’t fair. When life is challenging, and I am carrying some burden that others do not seemed to be charged with, it doesn’t seem fair. But equally so, when I am riding some wonderful wave, or I think about the advantages I have been afforded, or when I think on the quality of relationships I have been blessed with, I have a hard time imagining anyone has it as good as I do. It doesn’t seem fair, but to my advantage.
I don’t think God is concerned with fairness or equity. I think God is concerned with welling up within us the wonderful and unique qualities that make our particular existence important and necessary. What comes naturally to others, may need to be drawn out in me with great effort by God or his church. When God expects excellence of me on a particular front, he may be granting others rest or recreation during that time. As the scripture says, ‘There is a time and season for everything under the sun.’
Jesus tells Peter to lose his envy regarding John, and calls once again, ‘Follow me’. When Jesus spoke those words to Peter the first time, it was an invitation. Now, it is a charge to focus. If you have ever known someone who speculates about who the boss’s favorites are, instead of focusing on doing the best job possible, you know what Jesus is saying.
When I am focused on following Jesus, I tend to compare myself to others much less, and I am happier. When I am focused on following Jesus, I grow closer to God and blessings God has in store for me, as well as those challenges will lead to adventures of a lifetime.
Is life fair? From my perspective, it is not. When I am following Jesus, I am blessed with far more than I could dream of, ask for, or ever deserve.
God of the universe, God of our hearts, God of our unique abilities, there are times when it is easier to obsess on the blessings of those around us and be filled with petty jealousy or envy. We may even feel you are being unfair. In those times, help us hear again the call to focus, to follow Jesus, to become the person you have created us to be, so that the world may be availed of the unique gifts you have given us, and so that we may grow closer to you. Amen.