Join the Celebration!
by Beth Mabe Gianopulos
Thursday, July 27, 2017
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:28-32 (NIV)
When our family plays games, we play with a fierce desire to win. There have been times that kids (or adults) have refused to finish a game because our strategy is ruined by another player, or we may even “accidentally” knock over the game board, abruptly ending a game.
Each year, we enter some of our crafts and art in the Dixie Classic Fair. Like so many other aspects of our lives, we are competitive about our entries. We always hope to win, especially when we have spent hours on our entry.
This year, each of my kids entered art work. Although they are all talented, my daughter is extremely creative, so we all assumed that if anyone in our family would win, it would be her.
When we arrived at the fair, we immediately searched for our entries, and we were shocked to learn that my youngest son had won the Judge’s Choice and First Place awards for his entry. As we celebrated, I could see tears forming in my daughter’s eyes.
She was devastated because she worked so hard - she had spent hours on her art and cared deeply about her creations. Alternatively, her little brother didn’t really love art and had not worked nearly as hard as she had.
I know her pain. How many times had I worked so hard to gain God’s favor, only to see someone else receive a reward?
The pain of resentment is not new. Jesus told a parable about a son that received his inheritance early. The other son remained with his father and diligently worked while the other son wasted all that he was given.
When the wasteful son returned home after losing all his money, the father hosted a huge celebration. However, like my daughter, it was hard for the faithful, hardworking son to celebrate because of the resentment in his heart.
Resentment prevents us from joining the celebration of life because resentment focuses on what someone else has that we believe we should have. In order to find freedom from resentment, we must focus on what we do have.
That night, my daughter decided not to focus on the ribbon that her brother had. Instead, she focused on enjoying the moment that she was in – she found freedom from resentment by embracing the gift of the moment that she was given.
When the Father sees that we are held hostage by resentment, he responds, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Luke 15:31.
As Christians, we can overcome resentment when we recognize that every blessing has already been poured upon us. Everything the Father has is already ours.
Jesus, You know the times that I have allowed resentment to steal my joy. Help me stop focusing on what others have that I believe I should have. Instead, help me see the many blessings that You have poured upon me. Open my eyes so that I can see that everything You have is already mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Thursday, 27 July 2017.