“You have my lunchbox.”
“Nooo,” the young, freckle-faced child 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 (me) 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. Think eternally. Find a way to share it. Take turns – alternate days… or something!”
I turned, sighed, and walked into the living room. 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? But the war wasn’t really over the lunchbox… it wasn’t brother-to-brother… it was a war was within. A war against selfish desires.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? […] You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3 NIV)
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?
Ahhh… those lunchboxes.
They’re packed with rotten, stinkin’ goods. Food poisoning for sure. Yet we often wrestle and grapple for them, ready to eat the packed morsels within. 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, and instead, pick 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)
A lunch box covered in prayer – isn’t that beautiful and humble submission? Isn’t that Jesus lived in the day-to-day? The next time we feel the need to get our way, to quench some selfish desire, let’s leave the lunchbox alone and simply pray.
Lord, 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.