Have you seen that person that is so worried about what others are doing or not doing that they don’t do anything themselves? Jesus said to Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go” (John 21:18). John tells us that Jesus was talking about the kind of death that Peter would glorify God with. This was followed by a strong, “Follow me!” from Jesus. Right after that comment Peter seemingly points to John and says, “What about this guy?” (John 21:21 paraphrased). Jesus responded with, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:22). Peter, after hearing about his death at an old age, asks about John. He could’ve pondered his own life a bit longer. He could’ve thought about a long life in service to his Master. Instead, he asks about how someone else is going to die. Jesus’ response was simply, “What does that matter? Follow Me!”
We may have all been guilty at some point of focusing too much on what others are doing, how others are serving and forget that we have our own role to play in the big scheme of things. There are some problems that arise from that kind of thinking. One is the comparison game. We could start thinking, “I’m not as good” or “I’m better” than whoever is in our sights. Obviously, this is a dangerous game. We either exalt ourselves, or we debase our work God has given us to do. Another issue is losing focus. Jesus got Peter’s attention by saying, “Follow me!” We need to remember who we are following, and He has a work for us to do. I’m not promoting the idea that we are given a “calling” as some would espouse. However, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). This is a good one. We know the good that we can do. Have we lost focus by all the people around us? Lastly, this kind of thinking can affect our motivation. Why are we doing or living the way we need to live? Is it to be better or as good as someone? It would be better to be motivated out of love and service (John 14:15).
A few verses to help us in perspective. “The whole body being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). We all have our individual role. What is yours? When we are working, we need to remember, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment” (1 Tim. 6:6). These concepts, when applied, will keep us focused and so busy we won’t have time or desire to worry what other people are or aren’t doing.