“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me’ ” (John 21:21,22).
WHEN THE LORD INDICATED THAT PETER WOULD DIE A MARTYR’S DEATH, PETER TURNED TO JOHN AND SAID, “BUT LORD, WHAT ABOUT THIS MAN?” Jesus’ answer may seem abrupt to us, but it made an important point: “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Peter needed to be reminded to keep his focus on his own obedience. Whatever the Lord’s arrangements with others might turn out to be, the main thing we need to be concerned with is the quality of our own obedience.
Why does the Lord sometimes deal more generously with others than with us? On the surface, it appears that the blessings and benefits to be had in this world are not apportioned evenly. Some people seem to get more breaks than others. And especially when it comes to the Lord’s grace, things don’t always make sense. How can eleventh-hour penitents get the same grace as everybody else?
Why am I called upon to do things that others don’t have to do? If the blessings of life aren’t spread out equally, the responsibilities don’t seem to be fairly assigned either. The burdens that have to be borne seem to be piled quite high on the backs of some, while others aren’t called upon to do nearly as much. “If I have to die a martyr’s death,” Peter would say, “why doesn’t John have to?”
Why does the Lord require things that seem to do more harm than good? Here, perhaps, is the area of our most perplexing questions. When the Lord clearly commands something that, from our vantage point, seems to lack common sense, we tend to dismiss the directive as unrealistic. “Lord, that will never work. What about this complication over here and that complication over there?”
But all of these questions, and a number of others that may distract us, are irrelevant to our own responsibility. At best they are secondary issues, and secondary issues shouldn’t be allowed to determine our primary responsibility. If we know what the Lord would want us to do, then doing it is all that matters. Now is the time for obedience. There will be time enough for questions later.
“I find doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about his plans” (George MacDonald).