Unequal Blessing

Many people distrust God because he blesses reborn believers unequally.

Some of us endure more distress than others. Our temporal needs are more persistent and acute. We get less relief. Others enjoy more abundance than us.

The apostle Peter raised the issue of unequal blessing during an uncomfortable conversation with Jesus.

Peter And John

Near the end of his life on earth, Jesus asked Peter to affirm his love for him three times. Each time Peter did so, Jesus told him to minister to others on his behalf.

Jesus told Peter he would die a gruesome death for his faithfulness in this effort, but the manner of his death would glorify God. Jesus then summarized Peter’s earthly mission in two words, “Follow me!”

Peter responded to this ominous warning by asking Jesus what was going to happen to the apostle John.

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Peter preached for many years until he died a martyr’s death via crucifixion. Tradition says he insisted on being crucified upside down, because he felt unworthy of dying in the same manner as Jesus.

John ministered for decades until he was exiled to an island off the coast of Greece. Tradition says he died peacefully of old age, after being spared from execution years earlier through divine intervention.

Both men now enjoy the same elevated status in heaven, along with the other apostles, as an eternal reward for their earthly faithfulness.

Peter’s Question

At its core, Peter’s question to Jesus was about unequal blessing, as viewed from our human perspective.

He essentially asked, “If God is not going bless me with a long, easy life, how is he going to treat John? Will we suffer equally? Or will God bless us unequally?”

The answer Jesus gave Peter—“What is it to you? Follow me.”—includes implicit truths that shine heavenly light on the concept of unequal blessing.

  • God is sovereign. He can bless whomever he chooses, however and whenever he chooses.
  • God assigns every reborn believer a divine destiny, a uniquely personal mission that glorifies him.
  • Our mission is to spread the Gospel within our sphere of influence and to nurture the faith of the people we encounter.
  • Our spheres of influence differ, therefore our missions differ.
  • God blesses us with the abundance and protection we need to prepare for our mission and to fulfill it.
  • Since our missions differ, God blesses us differently—i.e., unequally.

Mission Determines Blessing

Peter and John shared the same divine purpose, but God gave them uniquely personal missions that glorified him in different ways.

He blessed them unequally, because the differences in the nature and extent of their missions dictated that their blessings also differ.

Heavenly Equality

Although God treated Peter and John unequally from an earthly perspective, he treated them equally from a heavenly perspective.

God gave both men the same opportunity to glorify him as they pursued the same divine purpose.

He gave both men what they needed to prepare for and accomplish their individual missions.

He rewarded them equally in heaven for their faithfulness.

Our Faithfulness

Whether God blesses us on earth with little or much, from a worldly perspective, our responsibility is to fulfill our assigned mission, as best we can, so he can glorify himself in and through us.

Our faithfulness in completing our earthly mission impacts our enjoyment of heaven.

Eternal Delight

All reborn believers will share equally in the benefits of heaven, without exception, but some of us will have more to celebrate than others.

Those who fulfilled their divine missions on earth will enjoy for eternity the added delight of relishing how God glorified himself through their faithfulness.

Realigning Our Perspective

Instead of wondering why God blesses others more than us—which is akin to covetousness—we should be thankful for the blessings we currently have and focus on using them to accomplish our unique missions.

We should assume the blessings God has already supplied are sufficient for us to spread the Gospel within our current sphere of influence and to nurture the faith of the people we encounter. We should ask God to make us aware of those he has prepared for our outreach.

We should also intercede for those God blesses more than us. We should pray that they realize God is the source of their blessings, that they would draw near to him as a result, and that they would be faithful in using his blessings for his intended purpose.