“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
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!
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?
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. Click To Tweet
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?
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. Fogive 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.