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Monday, October 24, 2011

(why) You are NOT happy for me.

I heard a story a couple of days ago that I just cannot shake.

It was about a waiter working the grind in the Big Apple.

The story goes something like this:
On a certain day, a certain well-known actress came in to eat where this young man was waiting tables and on his birthday decided to leave him a mega-huge tip.  Apparently, over the years this famous actress got to know this waiter, took a liking to him and wanted to do something nice for him on his birthday.  And when I say something nice for his birthday, I mean writing him a nice $25,000 dollar check.  (no need to rub your eyes...it's not $250, $2,500, it is twenty-five thousand dollars).

After I picked up my jaw from the ground, the person telling the story said that after the waiter's co-workers found out about the tip, his work environment became hostile.   

The ringing question in my mind is,
Why can't people be happy for others? 

There is this profound verse in the Bible found in the book of Romans that states,
"Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep."

At first glance, we might be inclined to think that the difficult part of that verse is "weeping with those that weep."   But this is not true.  Most of us are really good at being there for others when they are down and need a hand.  Most of us go out of our way to comfort our loved ones when they are hurting. 

The truly challenging part of that verse is when Paul writes, "Rejoice with those that rejoice."  Indeed, it is certainly difficult to be happy for those that are happy.  Sounds odd but it is true.  Think about it...
-Envy grows in your heart when someone gets a new(er) car than your 1997 Buick Le Sabre.
-Jealousy creeps in your mind when someone gets a promotion in the same department you have been working in since Reagan was in the White House.
-Hatred fills your bones when your slacker friend buys a lottery ticket and hits big.

-The truth is, the sting of your own personal selfishness creeps up when good things happen to others-

Reflect:
When good things happen to others how do you respond?
Are you genuinely happy for them?
Are you searing with resentment?
Are you somewhere in between?


Rejoicing with those that rejoice is something we all need to get better at.

And I believe that the first step towards a healthy perspective is dependence on God.
Pray that He lifts your eyes upward to see His blessings falling on those around you and I bet it will be that last time you are NOT happy for others.  

6 comments:

Adeline said...

For me, the waiter in the story deserved it. Come to think of it, every single waiter in that restaurant could have just an equal chance to be blessed in the same way. But they chose not to take the opportunity to make that move. In a way, it's just like our relationship with God. We expect to be blessed, but don't do anything about it. It's like this local folklore we have in our country where a man thought that if he lie underneath a mango tree with his mouth open wide, the mango will just fall and land in his mouth. Another man came and decided to climb the mango tree. Who benefited? Of course, the one who climbed up the tree. God loves to bless us, but we also need to make an effort to come to Him.

Anthony K said...

Adeline,
I agree. There is an African Proverb that says, "Pray, but when you pray move your feet."

Ann Mullen said...

Isn't one of the 10 Commandments about not being covetous. If it's that important, how come people ignore it? And maybe Heavenly Father put that in there because he knew it would be hard to do.

Anthony K said...

Ann, It sure it. The funny thing about the last commandment is that it summarizes most of them. I.e. you cannot steal unless you first have coveted in your heart!
Good thoughts!!

Tameka said...

I initially typed out a long comment and the page crashed! Ugh! Well, I loved this post and agree with it wholeheartedly!

http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2011/10/lyric-fire-look-at-my-fabulous-life-episode-10-.html

Anthony K said...

Tameka,

I can't stand when PC's act up like that! I am sure you had a lot of really good things to say.

I am glad you liked the post!