1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy,
2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
-Philippians 2:1-11, NRSV
All of a sudden, his lunch preferences changed.
Before the pandemic, Noah always asked us to pack the same thing in his lunch: a ham sandwich with yellow mustard, cheese on the side. The very same sandwich, every single day.
Then COVID changed most everything in our lives — including, strangely enough, Noah’s daily lunch order. Ever since the start of COVID (and the start of school at home), Noah has asked us to pack a new same thing in his lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (grape jelly only!). The very same sandwich, every single day.
One day, my husband happened to ask Noah the reason for the change. “Not that I mind, buddy,” Keith said, “but why don’t you ever ask for ham sandwiches lately? Don’t you like them anymore?”
“I like them okay,” he said. “But I like peanut butter way better.”
“Oh,” Keith replied. “Well… if you like peanut butter better, why didn’t you ask for that in your lunch back when you went to in-person school?”
“Because I want to sit with my friend,” he said with a matter-of-fact shrug. As it turns out, one of Noah’s friends has a severe peanut allergy and sits at the peanut-free table in the cafeteria. Noah wanted to sit with his friend, though that meant giving up his favorite lunch. For months, he ate the lunch he liked less in order to sit with the friend he cared about more.
For Noah, it was a small and simple decision. For his mama, it was a kind and considerate act, and one that made me rather proud. (I wish I could say it was the result of incredible Christian parenting, but I’m pretty sure I just got lucky with this kid.)
It may not be the most earth-shattering act… but choosing your lunch based not on what you want, but on what someone else needs, may be an eight-year-old’s way of living into the wisdom of Philippians. It may be one small way to embrace Paul’s advice to “look… to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, NRSV).
I wonder, church: what’s one small and seemingly simple way that you can “look… to the interests of others” today? Turns out it may be as simple as ordering a different sandwich.
And remember, friends:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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