"But I'm Bigger"
This week, Dan Jr (yes, I have given the world a second helping of me, I'm sorry!) turned a whole one-year old. He didn't realize it. All he knew was that people are shoving cake in his face, someone is available at all times to change his diaper, and that generally, he has an easy life. Eat, sleep, touch all the wrong things, mess his diaper. Then repeat that all over again.
Dan Jr. has an older sister named Grace, who is almost five years old. He very much loves his older sister. And his older sister very much loves him.
But Grace is learning that unlike the previous 4 years of her existence, she is not the center of the universe. For the first for years of her life, all toys in the Darling Kingdom belonged to her. All cool kid stuff belonged to her. All tasty, awesome kid food belonged to her.
Sharing her toys, her house, her life has been a big adjustment for Grace. Let's put it this way. Grace doesn't much like sharing.
This week, a big box arrived in the mail from Texas. It was one of those boxes you just can't wait to open. It was addressed to Daniel Darling, Jr. Inside was a really cool toy with buttons and lights and noises.
It was Daniel's first birthday gift. And he loved it. Like his father, he likes anything with buttons.
But there was a slight problem in Paradise.
Grace liked this toy too. Because all really cool toys should belong to her, she ripped the gift from the birthday boy and claimed it as hers.
"It's mine. Because I'm bigger."
Wow! What a demonstration of envy, pride, and defiance all in the same breath!
Fortunately, Grace has a great Mama who has a very quick solution to cases of envy, pride, and defiance. Let's just say, Grace eventually gave back the toy to her brother in a very apologetic way and for the rest of the day was saying, "That is Daniel's toy. He can have it." Amazing what a no-nonsense mother from Texas will do for a child's heart.
As Angela recounted this episode to me over the phone, I began to think about how often we model the same attitude as Grace.
Adults may be more creative, more articulate, more charming, but their jealousy is just as prevalent. We say to God, "I deserve that raise or that promotion or that book deal or that relationship. Because I'm bigger."
In our minds, we're the only person worthy of blessing.
I'm more successful.
I'm more deserving.
I'm more spiritual.
Instead of rejoicing in other's triumphs, we sulk like a 4-year old. Even though we're surrounded by a life of blessing, we point to the one thing someone else has, that we don't' have.
And we don't like it. So God has to teach us a lesson.
Maybe he takes away something precious.
Maybe he opens our eyes to the real need of people around the world.
Maybe he allows a friendship to be destroyed because of our jealousy and envy.
Sooner or later we need to learn the same lesson Grace learned this week.
Every day can not be our birthday.
Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.