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When My Siblings Got More Allowance than Me

When My Siblings Got More Allowance than Me

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. Genesis 49:28

When I was a kid, my dad announced to my brother, my sister, and me that we were going to get a weekly allowance. I was thrilled. The idea of a weekly allowance had never really occurred to me, and I thought it was grand that my parents would give me money simply for existing. I was even pleased with the amount . . . until I learned that my older brother and sister were going to get more than me. That’s not fair! It’s true that they were a few years older, and it’s also true that I had nothing to spend my money on at that age, but still, I thought the allowance should have been equal.

In parenting though, fair doesn’t always mean equal, a principle which was illustrated in today’s passage. In the story, Jacob gathered his sons to his deathbed to bless them each, with the blessing suitable to him. Jacob actually cursed the behavior of a couple of his sons, chastising them for their wickedness. Some of his sons though, received a true blessing and inheritance. Jacob knew each of his sons and gave to them fairly, but not equally, according to what they deserved. I imagine some of them felt cheated. That’s not fair! Jacob’s judgment was final though and so, each son had to decide how to respond. Would the one who felt cheated wallow in resentment? O would he humbly accept what his father had given him?

As those who’ve been forgiven by Christ, we can be thankful that we no longer have the debt of sin hanging over our eternal future. This doesn’t mean however, that we’re all treated equally in this life. Some of us endure terrible trials and some of us seem to lead blessed lives. Many of us perhaps would be happy with what we have been given, until we see how much more others have.

It’s the comparison that kills. When I find my value, not in the life God has given me, but rather in how my life compares to those around me, I can feel really good or really bad, depending on whom I’m comparing myself to. That is, of course, an absurd way to evaluate my life. Fair doesn’t mean equal. As God has given me life, I must daily choose gratitude, finding my contentment in the blessings he’s given me. Fair isn’t always equal. Comparison leads to resentment and bitterness. Gratitude leads to joy and peace. Thank you God for the life you’ve given me. 

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