John 21.15 asks do you love me more than these?
What are the ‘these’ God was contrasting Peter’s devotion with His love? Fish.
Its not that God was asking Peter if he loved fish more than Him but rather if he loved the fruit of working for himself more than the fruit of working for God.
Peter was hand chosen to be a fisher of men. The cost to accept this calling was to cease seeing himself as a fisher of fish. Succeeding in fishing meant a life of personal gain, good living, great reputation, worldly opportunities.
Succeeding at fishing for men would mean eternal life for some at personal sacrifice even to the point of death. Peter said he loved Jesus more so God told him to go to work building the church.
The same dilemma faces all of us we just don’t have God in front of us personally asking the questions.
Instead, God has recorded His questions which He expects us to read, understand and respond accordingly.
When God lived with us He told us the most important command was to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength then to love our neighbor as ourselves. He defined this love by obedience to His commands. Kind of circular.
His final command was for His people to teach everyone obedience to His commands. The personal cost would be self-denial and sacrifice but what good was it to gain the whole world and forfeit our souls anyway?
Recognizing the propensity for passivity God mused that the harvest is plentiful but His workers are few so pray for workers. Likely the answer to that prayer is God’s people strapping on the mantle of God’s fellow worker and engaging the cause of Christ.
The tension for all of us is wanting the comfort and pleasures of this world while still wanting to please God, or at least get to heaven. Since God wasn’t very descriptive of heaven or the new earth we buy into the motto that this life is all we have so we had better grab all we can with gusto.
When we live this way who do we demonstrate that we love the most? Is God our first and greatest love as evidenced by the fruit of our labor at His business of winning and discipling people who also love Him and obey His commands?
What happens if we don’t love Him more than these?