Mind Your Own Business!


“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who leaned against Jesus at the supper and 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.'” John 21:20-22.

What did Peter think this was, a little fortune-telling time? He had just been told what his future had in store for him and it wasn’t pretty. He was curious to know what was in store for John as well. In spite of everything that had happened, the old rivalry was still there, sitting just below the surface.

Don’t you love John’s honesty? He could have left this bit out. No one else reported on it. Peter, at least, could have told Mark and had it included in Mark’s gospel, except that it didn’t make Peter look good. Was John having a little dig at him? It could be, except that John was writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit so we have to look for another reason for its inclusion.

John was eavesdropping on this exchange between Jesus and Peter, Perhaps Jesus had invited Peter to go for a little walk with Him after breakfast while the other disciples dealt with the fish. Instead, John took up his stance behind Jesus as a disciple should, except that he had not been invited to join them. Whatever the reason for him being there, he was listening to the conversation and Peter knew he was there.

There is a good reason why this incident was included in Scripture, although it seems a strange way for John to conclude his gospel. God has a strong opinion about people who meddle in other people’s affairs. What is it in human nature that prompts this rivalry, even among Jesus’ own disciples? And it’s no different today.

The Ten Commandments end with one that searches the heart. “You shall not covet.” The other nine commandments might be measurable — yes, I kept that one; no I didn’t keep that one — but how do I measure whether I have coveted or not? What does it mean to covet?

To covet means to compare myself with someone else and conclude that the other person has more than I have or better than I have. It is actually an inward expression of my discontentment with what God has given me and a judgment on Him for being unfair. Isn’t this where it all started in the Garden of Eden? God put a restriction on one tree in the garden and that tree became the focus of Eve’s discontent.

I think it was more than curiosity that prompted Peter’s question. He was not coveting anything that John had at that moment, but coveting starts with comparing. He wanted to compare his future with John’s to see whether John’s lot was better than his. Jesus quickly nipped that one in the bud.

This is an important lesson for every believer to learn. The undercurrents of competition are very real in the church and between church groups and even denominations. Strangely enough, the Bible puts busybodies together with murderers. Every person’s walk with the Lord is intensely personal. It is not our business to look around and compare ourselves with others or to want what others have or do.

What was to happen to John was none of Peter’s business and Jesus let him know it in no uncertain terms. Peter had only one responsibility and that was to keep his eyes on Jesus.

Paul could have said to him, as he wrote to the Roman church: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”  Romans 14:4.

To judge someone else, I have to set up a standard, myself, and then compare the other person with myself. Of course, in my opinion, he will fall short, and that will make me feel superior. If I am superior to the other person, why has God short-changed me? God must be at fault and therefore I degrade Him and lose confidence in Him. Isn’t that exactly what the devil wants?

There is only one antidote to this poison in our hearts. Mind our own business. It’s as simple as that!


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

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Luella Campbell

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