“Peter asked Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.’” John 21:21-22 (NLT)
Spectator coaching at baseball games has always amused me — all the advice and critiques yelled out by well-meaning fans who most likely can’t even be heard on the field. Recently, though, one sideline comment stopped me in my tracks.
It was at a regional tournament, and my nephew’s team was up to bat. After a spectacular hit from one of his teammates, a runner took off from second base. As he rounded third, he turned his head to see where the ball was.
That’s when I heard it: “Don’t watch the ball; watch the coach!”
This spectator knew what the runner seemed to have forgotten in the moment: It’s the coach’s job to know where the ball is and advise his players accordingly. It’s the player’s job to listen to the coach and simply trust his leading.
Which brings to mind this passage of Scripture from the book of John:
“Peter asked Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me’” (John 21:21-22).
Not too long before this moment, the resurrected Jesus had shown up and performed a miracle for His disciples who were out fishing on the Sea of Galilee. The moment Peter realized it was Jesus standing on the shore, he cast aside his net and jumped in the water to get to Him. Peter knew then what mattered the most.
So what happened? Later in that same chapter, John tells us “Peter turned around” (John 21:20, NLT).
Peter took his eyes off his Coach, Jesus, to gauge his own position in life compared to others’. Instantly he went from a faith-filled high to being caught in the “what about him?” trap.
How often do I fall victim to the same?
How many times do I take my eyes off Jesus to turn around and look at others?
How many times do I compare my life against someone else’s and decide my own falls short?
How many times do I wonder if God’s plan for me even matters?
More than I’d care to admit.
That’s why I’m thankful for the grace shown to Peter in this moment of Scripture. Rather than condemning him for his doubts, Jesus lovingly reassured him, then issued him an invitation, the same invitation He still gives to you and me today: to simply follow Him.
But what about her, Lord? What are Your plans for her life?
Jesus says lovingly, “What is that to you?” (John 21:22).
But what if I don’t measure up? What am I supposed to do?
Hear His voice: “As for you, follow me” (John 21:22).
Following Jesus may not be easy, and we may not understand everything that happens along the way, but we can choose today to trust Him that it’s worth it. His plans for us may look different from His plans for others, but they are all good plans.
Father, in this world full of highlight reels that constantly tempt me to look around at others, help me to keep my eyes on You. Help me to follow You wholeheartedly, knowing that Your plan for me is good and that I can always trust where You lead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Proverbs 4:25-27, “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” (NLT)
Time and time again in Scripture, God makes it clear that looking to the left and the right at what everyone else is doing will get us off course every time. As you go through your day, take note of each time you catch yourself playing the comparison game. How does it make you feel? Use this opportunity to turn your eyes back to God and thank Him for the invitation simply to follow Him.
What helps you keep your eyes on God? We’d love for you to share about it in the comments.
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