For the past few days one of my sons set up at “lemonade stand” in front of our home, but he is actually selling orange juice. He has made $78 in two days and is on his way to launching his own company! And yes, most of the customers are my friends and neighbors that want to reward him for his entrepreneurship; they’re not really interested in the product he is selling but they all have generous hearts.
But the other two boys have watched him make money and they’re jealous. So this morning the youngest woke up early and interrupted my Bible study to share with me his plan on how to make his own fortune. Then the next son greeted me their own plan of how to make a million dollars in my front yard by selling hamburgers and chips. It appears that I am raising three Elon Musks—-they’re nothing like me.
But the competition between the three of them is exhausting. The fights to see who is better results in tears, unkind words and occasional sabotage. Aand every time they see me it seems like they want me to do something special for them that will allow them to rise higher than their brothers. Jealousy….sibling rivalry…boys just being boys…..? Whatever you want to call it, it creates a lot of waste and anger and I am ever on my guard for being scammed.
But then I think about my own approach to my heavenly Father. I hope that I am coming to Him because I genuinely desire Him—-and nothing more. But the temptation is to always ask and ask for His blessing (as if the gift of being with Him is not quite enough!) and even though I know He is God, I wonder if I sometimes attempt to scam Him by asking for things that I don’t need, but rather things I want so that I can be envied? God purify my petitions!
It’s part of our fallen angel to compete, in a negative way, and to always look after “number one”—i.e. me. But Saint Augustin once said that: “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” It’s the determination to think others, and their needs being more important than mine, that will keep me on the right path.
I hope to have three angels in my home soon. But it takes one to know one. The battle starts with me and how I see my relationship to my Father. I am happiest not when I seek to acquire more, or garner more attention, or even when I pragmatically make sure that I am safe and secure. No, the greater joy comes from giving others the extra recognition, making certain that my family is protected, and feeling the joy that comes from being surpassed by those I love.
Create in me a new and extraordinary heart God—-one that is always looking to you and ever devoted to helping those I love. Forgive me for competing with the very ones I want to help.