Presence or Presents?
by Janet Oettgen

When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about him?"

Jesus said to him, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me." (John 21:21, 22)

What is your initial reaction to having someone tell you about great things they are accomplishing, how their prayer for this or that was answered, or the spiritual progress they are making?

Although I'd like to say that I'm always able to say "Praise God" and just be happy for them, I have to admit that sometimes my initial reaction is jealousy - UGHHHHHH! This isn't because I want what they have, nor do I want to do what they are doing. It's because they are getting attention from MY Father.

Perhaps this is where much of the legalism we see today began. One person was being blessed, and others wanted that same kind of blessing. The natural assumption is that to get what they've got, we must do what they are doing. What starts out as "follow-the-leader" soon becomes a legalistic list of what we MUST do to please God and receive His blessings. We lose sight of our purpose to enjoy His presence, and find ourselves looking instead for His "presents"!

It is liberating to realize that His work in each of our lives is as individual as we are. While I'm busy watching what He's doing in someone else's life, I can easily fail to see what He is doing in me!

It doesn't occur to us that He is ALWAYS paying attention to us. We're not in a competition for His attention and there is definitely enough of Him to go around!

(inspired by JZ & her piano!)

Copyright Janet Oettgen
Permissions granted to use – LCMI 2002

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