The “Happy Birthday” song has been sung and the candles blown out. The parents start scooping ice cream onto cheerful party plates. Children wait for their little slice of heaven to be placed in front of them, then dig in. Except for the birthday girl’s younger brother who pouts when he receives his plate. He thinks his piece of cake is smaller than his sister’s and wants the same amount of icing as hers. The mother can’t tell a difference between the two and calmly explains this to the boy, who insists his share is lacking. Just to help him move on and not de-rail the party, she adds a bit more to his plate. He’s still unsatisfied, and there is blessed little the parent can do to improve the situation.
Jesus says, For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away (v. 25).
The younger brother believes the cake portions aren’t equal and his plate is deficient, so he won’t enjoy the cake or the party. He keeps himself from having a good time and nothing a parent can do will make him “happy.” The child has some inner work to do in order to change his perspective and move forward. This maturing step is possible, but he must make the pivot. While his parent can coach him, she can’t do it for him. With a little internal dialogue and a perspective change, he can shift into a posture of gratitude and enjoyment.
When we look through the lens of gratitude, we experience abundance. When we make everything a competition, we experience scarcity. Jesus’ way leads to a grateful heart. That, my friends, is the best way to enjoy your cake.
With paper, a pen, and a 10-minute timer, list all that you’re grateful for. Then hang the list where it will remind you often to notice what is good.
God, help me to pay attention. Open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my mouth to taste, and my arms to receive all the goodness that comes to me daily and reveals who you are. Make me ever grateful for your gifts. Amen.