In Luke 15 we come across a particular familiar story that we refer to as the story of the prodigal son. We always bog down on the younger son but in this post I would like to focus in on the reaction of the older son when the father throws a party for the younger son. We’re going to pick up the story in verse 25:
“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:25-32 NKJV)
Everything that the older son had been working hard for the younger son received even though he didn’t deserve it. The older son couldn’t be happy for his younger brother. He didn’t realize what the father was telling him that if he could celebrate with his younger brother that he would be the next one to be blessed. I call this the “Older Brother Syndrome” (OBS).
So many times we find ourselves in this position. It’s hard to celebrate for someone else when they receive the position that you have been working so hard for. I’ve been there. When someone else gets the promotion at work. When someone else gets hired for the position that you applied for. When someone else gets chosen to lead a project instead of you. When someone else gets their breakthrough. When someone else gets blessed.
Paul writes this in Ephesians “Knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”(Ephesians 6:8 NKJV) In other words, what you make happen for someone else God will make happen for you. The reverse is also true, whatever you won’t make happen for someone else God won’t make happen for you. So when you celebrate someone else getting a blessing, know that you’re going to be next to get your blessing. Jesus said it this way in Matthew “Do unto others what you would have done to you.” (Matthew 7:12) We refer to this as “The Golden Rule.”
So the next time someone else gets their breakthrough, celebrate because your next. The next time someone gets blessed, rejoice because your next. Remember “The Golden Rule” and the truth that whatever you make happen for someone else God will make happen for you.