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"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." - Titus 2:11

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Being accountable to our own task
(John 21:20-22)

One of my favorite Bible characters is Peter because I can identify myself with him; his character, weaknesses, and failures. There is always a little bit of Peter within us.

Call him impetuous if you will, but it is because of Peter that we have some insights into the Master’s mind that perhaps we, otherwise would not have been privileged to, had it not been for the impetuousness of Peter!

The text before us reveals that Peter was a lot like many of us! Look at his immediate response! Jesus had just told him how he was going to die, yet the first thing he wants to know is what’s going to happen to John!

What was Peter’s motivation in asking this question? I can think of 2 things:

1.) Perhaps he couldn’t stomach the thought that he would be the only one to die a martyr’s death!

Somehow, we feel a little better when we know that we are not the only ones suffering or going through something! And if we are not careful, we will let others’ experiences serve as an excuse for us not to do anything about our experiences. In fact, there are many Christians who don’t do, simply because others are not doing! We fail to understand that God is not going to judge us based on what others did or did not do! Our judgment will be based on what we did or did not do! Every man will have to see God for himself! What others do not do is not a valid excuse for our failure to do what we should do!

2.) Perhaps Peter wanted to know whether or not his experience would be unique or was it something that John would suffer also.

There is a natural human tendency to always try to compare one’s experience with the experience of someone else! Sometimes we do this to make ourselves feel better than others! You remember the self-righteous Pharisee don’t you? Sometimes we make this comparison to try to make sure others are doing as much as we are doing! You remember when Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha’s house?

But notice how our Lord responded to Peter’s inquiry! He said, (in our common everyday language)"Peter, don’t you worry about what is going to happen to John, that’s none of your business! Your business is to just follow me!" That’s the message the Lord has for us today! Many Christians don’t do what they are supposed to be doing because they are obsessed with making sure others are doing! Everybody is trying to watch and make sure everybody else is doing and as a result, no one doing their own business!

If we are not careful, we can even fall into this trap, even in regard to ministry. Someone asked me: "Ptr. Lito, why don’t you do like pastor so and so?" My response was that each man has a unique calling. The Lord did not call me to do or be like pastor so and so; he called me to do what he called me to do!” We err when we try to pattern our ministries and churches after the ministries of others. Each Christian, each church, each ministry has a unique calling. I am out of order when I try to do what the Lord has uniquely called you to do. You are out of order when you think that your experience is the "norm" and thereby measure everybody else’s experiences by your own. It’s not ours to try to enforce the diligence of others; our task is to make sure that we are doing that which the Lord has uniquely called us to do. What difference this will make in our church!

In Peter, we can see the error of our being overly concerned about what he has given others to do. Though your fellow Christian may seem to be prosperous while you are suffering God is not unjust. You don’t know what that brother has been and is going through. Don’t worry about him: You just make sure that you are doing what the Master has assigned for you to do. We will be accountable to our own task someday.


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