Why You Can’t Take a Lunchbox to Heaven

Why You Can't Take a

“You have my lunchbox.”

“Nooo,” the young, freckle-faced one said. “It’s not your lunchbox. It’s first come, first served. I got here first.” His hands clutched the lunchbox, the whites of his knuckles evident.

“No. Dad told me I could have that lunchbox,” the tall one responded in an “I’m-trying-really-hard-to-control-myself” voice. His eyes widened.

Tension swiped through the air. Bickering ping-ponged back and forth. The volume rose with each swing of the invisible paddle.

Then the referee called foul.

“It’s not anybody’s lunchbox. Dad didn’t give it to you, and if your brother wants to use it, well, that’s okay. Stop fussing. Figure out a way to look outward, “give” versus trying to “get”. Think eternally. Find a way to share it. Take turns – alternate days… or something!” I offered spouted.

I turned, sighed, and walked into the living room. (Mothering is a hard gig some days, especially when your patience tank sits empty.)

Glancing back into the kitchen, this thought filled my brain: You can’t take a lunchbox to heaven.

Really, you can’t. After all, have you seen anyone grab their lunchbox just before they die?

Oh, wait a minute.

I’m about to die.

Let me grab my lunchbox real quick, Jesus.

Be right back!

Ummm, no.

So why all the fighting over a lunchbox?

Simply put: to get what they wanted.

The war wasn’t over the lunchbox.

It wasn’t brother-to-brother.

The war was within.

It was a war against selfish desires.


What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you? You want what you don’t have, so you commit murder. You’re determined to have things, but you can’t get what you want. You quarrel and fight. You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them. When you pray for things, you don’t get them because you want them for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure. James 4:1-3 GW

I would love to say it’s a kid thing, but this wrestling knows no age boundaries. Selfish desires fight for control until heaven’s pearly gates.

Ever been tight-fisted over hurtful words?

Knotted at an attempt to keep everyone happy?

Stomped away in recoil to offense?

Clinched control with all your might – whether child, spouse, or other?

Shopped, snacked, tipped a bottle, or blew your stack as an outlet?

Ahhh….those lunchboxes.

They’re packed with rotten, stinkin’ goods. Food poisoning for certain. Yet we often wrestle and grapple for them, ready to eat the packed morsels within.

Selfish desires fight for control, but Jesus quenches them all. Share on X

But what if we left the lunchbox on the counter, refusing to eat of its goods?

What if we dropped the demands of our will, the spouting words, the recoiling, hurting hearts, instead, picking up prayer like Jesus?

…“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”   Luke 22:42 WEB


Father, you know best. Guide me like only You can. Show me why I’m fighting for ____________. What is at the root of this emotion, Lord? How do I work through this situation?

What if we turned our thinking toward Jesus, toward eternal matters – a “give” versus “get” mentality?

How does this situation matter in the scheme of eternity? How can I give myself to Jesus versus trying to get all I can for me?

A lunch box covered in prayer  – isn’t that submission, beautiful, humble submission? Isn’t that Jesus lived in the day-to-day?

Can we encourage one another?

The next time we feel the need to get our way, to quench some selfish desire, why not relax the shoulders, leave the lunchbox alone, and simply pray?

Jesus, what do You want? Share on X


A prayer of proactive preparation:


You are good. Your righteous ways lead me in the way everlasting. Show me what’s in my heart, Lord. Reveal one selfish desire and its root – that thing in me that wars against You. I don’t want to sin against You. Forgive me. Blot these transgressions with Your faithfulness. Holy Spirit, counsel me with your wisdom. Guide me with revelation and understanding so that I might walk in Your righteous ways. Thank You, Lord. I wait in trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Linking with Crystal Storms, Kelly Balarie, Holly Barrett, Holley Gerth, & Lyli Dunbar.

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  1. Wow, Kristi … what a title!!

    And I feel in good company because I, too, tend to ‘spout’ instead of ‘offer’ … way too much! I love the lessons God teaches us in the most ordinary, dailyness of life.

  2. Kristi, This is sooooo good! And so true! Living with an eternal perspective changes everything. And you’re right, parenting is a hard gig at times. Praying for His will and giving up our selfish attitudes . . . what a world it would be. Blessings to you!

  3. Oh, Kristi, those selfish desires are at the root of every “mine” and every effort to get the last word in. I was thinking of this the other day as I thought in my head I don’t deserve to pick up this dish on the counter every day for the rest of my life. Then I was struck with what I did deserve. Thank you, friend, for reminding me to lay down my desires and look instead to eternal glories.

    1. Those are good examples, Crystal ~ so simple, yet so tangling. To God be the glory as we set down our desires.

  4. Beautiful post, Kristi. And, I so agree with you that “wrestling knows no age boundaries”. Unfortunately, we don’t ‘outgrow’ our selfish desires! Thanks for the rich analogies and verses to fight back. Blessings! Visiting from Purposeful Faith.

  5. Thank goodness there is a whole lot of junk we hold on to that isn’t going with us to heaven! Such true words, Kristi – especially those ones about getting knotted up trying to make everyone happy. I’m not so good at letting go, but its something God is encouraging me to be better at – for my sake, and that of everyone around me. I’m grateful for baby steps and heaps of grace.

  6. Kristi, I love this post. I’ve said numerous times how watching my kids is like holding up a mirror. I may not be fighting about a lunchbox, but how many times have I coveted what a sister has? Lord, help me to remember that a win for my sister is a win for me.

    1. Oh, the mirror….. Love your last line, Abby. Yes, Lord, help us to remember that a sister’s win is a win for all.

  7. “Father, you know best. Guide me like only You can. Show me why I’m fighting for ____________. What is at the root of this emotion, Lord?” What a great exercise. Isn’t it amazing how much God reveals to us about our character as we help our children with theirs? Sacred work this mothering.

    1. So amazing. And little did I know I’d be facing my own rotten, stinkin’ food in a lunch box this week. Thanking God alongside you for His sacred work in us, Lisa.