Read: John 21
Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” (John 21:22, NLT)
Mind your own business! That’s the gist of what Jesus was saying to Peter.
Jesus had been drilling down to some issues that needed to be resolved in this rough fisherman-turned disciple. It was a difficult conversation that needed to happen before Peter could become the apostle Jesus had in mind, and Peter did what so many of us do: When the spotlight got focused on him a little too brightly, he tried to shed some light on John’s flaws.
Jesus kept the focus right where it needed to be: “Peter, quit worrying about what will happen to John and just focus on what I’ve called you to do. If I allow him stay alive until I return, that is none of your business. You’ve got enough to worry about just taking care of your own junk let alone John’s. Just take care of you and you’ll be fine!”
Not bad advice! Wouldn’t we save ourselves a whole lot of wasted energy by just minding our own spiritual business? I know that’s true for me. The time and emotional drain I spend worrying whether someone else is walking with Jesus the way I think they should takes away from the spiritual energy that could be focused on growing me up in Christ.
Now that is not to say that we should never express loving concern for another believer’s spiritual progress. Sometimes the people we care deeply about frankly need to step it up in their growth as a disciple of Jesus—and we need to call them out on that. However, since spiritual formation is an ongoing process that will not conclude until the day we die and reach heaven, you and I need to remember that we, too, need to step it up!
So the next time you have an urge to voice a “concern” about what another sister has said or how another brother is living or what another local shepherd is doing or the kind of theology a prominent Tele-evangelist is espousing, just remember what Jesus said to Peter: “What is that to you? Just worry about you and make sure you are following me!”
You see, those people you are worried about will have to answer to God for their lives one day, but so will you. And since it is highly unlikely that you will be able to change them one bit by all the energy you spend worrying about their spiritual condition anyway, try devoting that same energy to your own obedience. Besides, if you really want to see them change, the better focus of your efforts would be to pray for them. Spend at least as much time bringing them before the Father in prayer as you do thinking and talking about how upsetting they are to you.
Do that and change will happen all right—but it will be you that changes! So mind our own business today—it is not such a bad thing to do!
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Gustav Jung
What If God Took Over?
Offer this prayer today: “Lord, there is so much work yet to do in me, so keep me focused on my own spiritual development. Help me to mind my own business, working on the things that I can change and leaving the things I can’t change up to you.”