At times it seems that I have stricter limitations than other believers I know. They have freedom to do things I know I have been asked to avoid. It doesn’t seem fair and, if I’m not careful, can lead to resentment that quickly becomes critical judgments.
Don’t they get it?
However, I recently began to wonder what the other nine disciples did whenever Jesus singled out Peter, James, and John to accompany Him on special occasions. There is no record of the others having been given assignments during their absence. They were left to do whatever they wanted, it seems.
But why only Peter, James, and John? I thought you were no respecter of persons, Lord.
Then I began to understand. Jesus didn’t dare let James, John, or Peter out of His sight! These three were competitive (who’s the greatest?), hot-headed (Sons of Thunder), compulsive (Peter lopped off the guy’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane), and prone to call down the fire of heaven if they were rejected. These weren’t Jesus’ favorites. Oh, no. Like any good teacher, Jesus gave these troublemakers front row seats in His classroom so He could keep an eye on them!
His efforts paid off. All three became leaders of the new church. The others (minus Judas) were also instrumental in making disciples, as well.
They just didn’t need such “specialized” attention.
Like me, are you prone to get yourself into trouble if Jesus leaves you to your own devices? He’s given me just enough rope to hang myself in the past…and I’ve done so more than once. As a result, He’s said, “I want you right here where I can watch you!”
His “special” attention is beginning to pay off, though. Little by little I’ve matured; and little by little He’s given me more responsibility in His Kingdom work.
When I see the situation from this perspective, it helps me to be less harsh with those who aren’t on such a “short leash” by the Lord. In a way, I envy their ability to “get it” – and stay out of trouble – while enjoying greater freedom.
The significance of this is arrangement is that those of us who are seemingly under the Lord’s watchful eye, and the recipients of His “special” attention, are not the favored ones after all. Once we understand that we’re not the “in” crowd, but those most likely to be the troublemakers, the balloon of pride is quickly deflated! In addition, we can let go of the propensity to judge those whose lifestyles allow for greater latitude in life activities.
There is an advantage to being in this group, though: we get lots of the Lord’s attention.
We’re not the favorites –
just His special needs kids!
Originally published 4/23/13 on Lessons by Heart