“…If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” ‭‭John‬ ‭21‬:‭23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Nothing kills joy like comparison. 

You might be thrilled with your promotion until you hear someone else got a promotion and a company car.

You might be thrilled with remodeling your kitchen until you walk through some brand-new model homes.

You might have loved your summer staycation until you scroll through Instagram and see others living it up on a Disney Cruise!

Comparison is a monster that most of us feed rather than destroy.

Not long ago, Peter thought his life was over. He’d denied Jesus, then Jesus was killed. And he was left with the bitter end to what was once a beautiful friendship. But then, in three days, everything changed. Jesus resurrected. They just had breakfast on the beach. And Jesus had restored him to his previous position – the one who would lead the church. Forgiven. Restored. Renewed. Re-commissioned. You can almost hear the crescendo of the orchestra as the credits are about to roll. 

But then Peter sees John. And he asks what we all ask about others. “What about him?” The music stops, and the record scratches. 

“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.’ Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'” John‬ ‭21‬:‭20‬-‭23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What about him? I get forgiveness. I get to feed your sheep. I get to lead your church. But what does he get? Tell me it’s not more than what I got! This is the equivalent of stopping on that Instagram pic of someone on a Disney cruise. This is looking around the room and seeing what everyone else is wearing. This is driving up in your new car and hoping your neighbor doesn’t get a better one. Peter is grateful, but Peter is comparing.  

I do the same thing. And my guess is you do too. And every time, I hate who I’ve become. Every time I feel worse than I did before because comparison kills joy. 

But Jesus’ response can be our remedy. The simple recitation of this phrase can change everything. “What is that to you?” What is that to you if I want him to remain alive until I return? If he gets more or less than you. If I trust him the same as you. If he is regarded more highly than you. It’s my kingdom. I hand out the blessings. I hand out the responsibilities. I know where you can thrive and where you might fail. So, what is that to you?

John hears Jesus not only reinstate Peter but also refocus his priorities. And John has to refocus his own. He is about to submit himself to Peter’s leadership. He’s about to be entrusted again with Jesus’ mother. And one day, he’ll be ripped from his home and his church and left in a prison colony in Patmos, waiting to die wondering, “Are the other disciples suffering like I am?” And he’ll remember the words of Jesus “What is that to you?”

So, what robs your joy?

The ex who seems to be thriving?

The business that is going better without you?

The neighbor who seems to have more financial freedom than you?

The family who seems to be drama free?

That mom down the street who somehow runs a business, raises perfect kids, is in perfect shape and somehow has time to bake vegan cookies for school? 

Everything in us cries out – God, why them?

What is that to you?

Today’s prayer: Jesus, help me to stop counting OTHERS blessings and start counting mine. 


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