For Logan’s second birthday, we got him a piñata. He was too little to really have a go at it, but he took a couple swipes and then passed the bat off to the next person in line. We went youngest to oldest in order to make sure that the little kids had a shot before the older kids came in and destroyed the thing. Sure enough, my 10-year-old niece stepped up to the plate, cocked back her hips, and send the pinata flying into the next birthday.
What happened next was glorious: candy flying everywhere, kids diving into the pile, and laughter and shouts of glee filling the backyard. The moment almost seemed to move completely in slow motion, as kids popped up from the pile clutching a handful of M&M’s, Skittles, and the occasional Twix bar (that unfortunately came in the bag.
As I stood there and watched the scene unfold, I couldn’t help but get a little bit of a smile on my face. No matter what the reason, when you see 15-20 kids have pure joy stretched across their faces, it makes you feel happy too. I wasn’t even in the pile with them and I became filled with a sense of happiness as well. Looking around at the faces of the other parents, I noticed that several of them felt the same way.
It didn’t hit me until a couple weeks later that that scene under the piñata is exactly how we should all live our lives together. Sure, there may be only one person that actually gets to break the piñata wide open, but when it does explode and you see the candy raining down from the heavens, everyone gets to share in the excitement.
When my brother receives a promotion, has a child, builds a new house, gets married, or whenever another good thing comes his way, we should share in that excitement with him, even though it wasn’t necessarily us that the thing happened to. We rejoice because he rejoices, and his joy becomes our joy (Rom. 12:15).
Though we commonly hear this concept discussed in the form of suffering – that we should accompany people in their times of grief – the same is true for happiness as well. Paul rightfully claims in 1 Corinthians 12:26 that “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” When Paul was nearing the end of his life, he wrote “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
The fellowship that we share as Christians extends to our physical lives as well, and the circumstances our brethren are in extend to us. What they feel, we should feel. What they enjoy, we get to enjoy. We bask in their triumphs and revel in their successes.
Do you? Do you have a heart that is genuinely happy when success befalls others, or do you scowl and claim that “it should have happened to me”? I hope that when you experience the best things that this life has to offer, I will rejoice with you, not in a spirit of jealousy, but in a place of genuine love that your status has improved. And when good things befall me, won’t you join me as well? Will you join me under my own piñata?