I was walking this morning and he reminded me of this:
“Whatever he tells you to do, do it.”
I remembered I wrote about this some time back, in this post titled “Do Whatever He Tells You.”
This phrase is said by Jesus mother, Mary. She instructs the servants to listen to him and to do whatever he tells them to do, knowing that whatever he tells them to do will result in something miraculous happening. And Jesus tells them to fill up 6 stone water pots, draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.
This they do and, lo and behold, a miracle occurs!
You see, to some he said “Fill up the water pots.” To someone else he says, “You feed my sheep.” To another he says “Come forth,” or, “Go and sell all you have and follow me,” or “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
Our abiding in Jesus means we are abiding in both him and his words. And his words are of the utmost importance for us. These words are what we must be listening for. These words are what we must be acting upon. And these words are essential for Jesus to continue to create afresh and work miracles each and every day through us.
Jesus wants to speak unique words to each of us. Words of instruction that will lead to greater things. We must listen to what Jesus is saying to us. Perhaps we take what Jesus has been saying to someone else and we try to do what he is asking them to do? Or perhaps we look at what he has asked us to do, and we compare it with what others are doing? Maybe what someone else is doing seems much more glamorous, less difficult, or less open to criticism!
We see the response of Jesus in this kind of situation.
Jesus has just drawn Peter back to himself through Love, wiping away the anger and the disappointment that denying Jesus brought to Peter. Then Jesus reveals to Peter what the future would be like. It’s not pleasant, but Love has taken hold and Peter would soon gladly give his life to fulfil the instruction of Jesus.
Peter looks and sees another disciple, and says to Jesus, “What about him?” Perhaps he is wanting to be comforted knowing that he won’t be the only one who is going to lose his life for the sake of Jesus? Or maybe if he asks, Jesus will tell Peter that what he is being asked to do is nothing compared to what the other disciple will have to face?
Jesus reply is excellent, as always.
“If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
I love those words, “What is that to you?”
When Jesus instructs us, we do well not only to listen, but also to not compare what he has instructed us to do with what he has instructed someone else to do. Comparison can lead both ways, to pride that we are better than someone else (more highly favoured!), or to feeling inferior to others. Both are against what Jesus desires, simply for us to abide and allow himself to flow through us. If we are abiding and Jesus Life is flowing through us to others, and Jesus is bearing fruit that glorifies his Father, that is all that matters.
Jesus answers us if we begin to compare ourselves to others. “If that’s my will for them, what is that to you? You follow me!”
Likewise we should not worry as to what others will think of us when Jesus gives us a specific instruction. He says the same to them as he would say to us, “What is this to you? You follow me!”
Jesus gave me a specific instruction. It was “Feed my sheep.” This may not make a lot of sense for some people. It may not have much weight to it. The way Jesus does it through me may not be the way others think he would work, or the way I do things may not be the way they would do things. But those words of his to me left me in no doubt as to what he wanted to do. And still, I simply have to abide and leave him to do the rest, and he is doing plenty right now.
Let’s each of us respond to those words, “Do whatever he tells you” afresh. And let’s not compare ourselves to others, but in simply abiding recognise that Jesus speaks to each of us specifically and uniquely, and let’s listen, hear, and obey.
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Jesus himself.