“He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during 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 this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”” John 21:17-22 ESV
Today I’m completely surrounded by distractions. So, this was the best therapy I could think of to perform a reset.
I’m supposed to be working on the workbook for my forthcoming book, Unburdened. The workbook will be a free download from my website for everyone who is signed up to receive my blogs by email. So if you’re reading this, chances are you’ll get a copy of it.
That is, once I can get beyond these distractions.
You see, sometimes I have difficulty staying focused on what God has called me to do. I get distracted by what everybody else is doing, the good things they’re accomplishing, the opportunities they have. Words like envy and jealousy come to mind. I don’t like to admit that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. It’s maddening to me that some days I can be so focused and content with the opportunities God has given me to influence for His glory, yet other days I can slide down a rabbit hole and struggle to see daylight.
God’s word has always been faithful to keep me grounded, if I’m only willing to listen. I find great comfort in the struggles of the apostle Peter. A man who was so greatly used after the resurrection was at time such a mess prior. After his denial of Jesus three times, Jesus graciously restores him in the very moving story found in John 21. In His restoration, Jesus gives Peter a glimpse of how he will be used to influence others in the future. But Jesus also foreshadows how it will be a very difficult road, one filled with persecution.
For whatever reason, Peter looks at the apostle John and asks what his future would be like. Is he curious, jealous, envious? We don’t know. With Peter’s passionate personality, perhaps it’s not so difficult to guess. I may resemble that at times.
Regardless, Jesus answer to him is effectively, “That doesn’t matter, Peter. His life and obedience isn’t your concern. You keep your eyes fixed on Me.” Some will have greater influence, some less. Some will have more of the comfortable things in this life, others very little. Some will suffer greatly, others not so much.
It takes humility to bloom where we’re planted and be faithful with what we’ve been given. But regardless of what situation we find ourselves in, that’s exactly what each of us has been called to do.
So, if you’re so motivated, say a prayer for me as I resist the distractions to focus on completing the task at hand. At my center, I desire to have influence and encourage those God brings across my path. No more, no less.
By the way, I prayed a similar prayer for you today, too. Whatever your distractions, remember the words of our Lord to a distracted Peter: “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”