Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had 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 21:21-22

Last week Leah and I had the opportunity to visit some of our family back in Chicago.  We are always grateful for those precious hours given the fact that our ministry assignments have brought us a bit of a distance from our hometown.

Upon arriving at their grandmother’s house, the kids lit up with excitement to learn that there was wrapped gifts waiting for them, as they were not able to receive them for Christmas.  Later that evening, Leah and I watched them rip open those packages with reckless abandon.  I also noticed how each one seemed more curious about the gifts the other had received.  It was as if they really couldn’t fully enjoy the gift given to them for fear that the other may have gotten something a little better.

Personally, I locate my own heart struggling with envy and even resentment as I take note of the “gifts” and privileges that others have and I don’t.  I too easily forget the fact that what has been given to me is greatly undeserved and therefore worthy of unreserved thankfulness.  As my college president would often remind the student body, “comparison is the kiss of death to contentment”.  Yet, to remain focused upon the blessed grace one has received and not fall into the devilish trap of desiring another’s blessing can be a real struggle of the soul.

Peter must have dealt with his own personal struggle in this area as he turns and sees John listening in on his conversation with the Lord Jesus.  You would think it would have been beyond Peter’s imagination to have experienced renewed fellowship and restoration directly from the lips of His Savior after such a tragic fall.  Nevertheless, even in the middle of being extended extraordinary grace, Peter cannot prevent his curious heart from inquiring about the future of his good friend and coworker in the ministry.  Jesus’ response to Peter is not merely a rebuke, but gracious wisdom to help Peter avoid the snare of envy and discontentment.  “Don’t allow your heart to peak into the business of no one else.  Not even your closest friends.  Your only business is to stay zeroed in on Me”.  That is, of course, my loose translation.

Are you struggling with contentment?  Center your heart, mind and affections squarely upon your walk with Christ.  You will be amazed how quickly your contentment returns to you.

– Pastor Mark Lockett