My brother and I are really close in age, we share a birthday month and are less than a year apart. One year, we decided to celebrate our birthdays with a pool party at my grandparents house. It was going to be a magical time hanging out with the cousins, swimming at the pool, and unwrapping my presents! Now, given that it was closer to my birthday (it may have been my actual birthday, I was only about 6 or 7), I assumed that the party was just for me. Well, you can imagine my surprise when we show up and there’s two sets of gifts! I remember thinking to myself, it’s my birthday party, why is my brother also getting presents? I was upset about it the rest of the day! I have a history of this. Every Christmas, my grandfather loves to tell the story of when we were unwrapping presents and my brother got one before me, so I, true to form, kicked him! Over 20 years later, it’s still being brought up.

As I was reading this passage, I remembered these stories. Why? Because it illustrates to me that we struggle to be content with the things we’re getting and have a tendency to always look over our shoulder at what our brother is receiving. Do you relate to this story at all? Have you ever wanted to “kick” someone because you felt like they had an easier go of things or better lot in life? The encouragement Jesus gives to Peter here is so clear! What is it to you? In short, “Hey Pete, I’ve got plans for you and plans for him. You follow me, not him!” 

Ultimately, Jesus says to Peter, keep your eyes on the prize! Don’t play the comparison game, as I said a few weeks ago via Teddy Roosevelt, comparison is the thief of joy! As Paul would encourage us, we keep our eyes focused on the goal which is serving Jesus wholly and completely! I would encourage you today to ask yourself how you recenter yourself to make sure that you’re focused on Jesus? I would encourage you to make sure that each day you’re taking time to pray and ask Jesus to help you to seek Him first because ultimately, what is it to me when Jesus asks me to walk a harder road than someone else? We do the best with what God has put in front of us and trust the Maker in all circumstances. 

By Seth Redden
Pastor of High School Ministry

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