May 16, 2019 G. Scott Patterson

Who Will Unpack Your Lunch?

Who Will Unpack Your Lunch?

The week before Mother’s Day, I took several ladies from our church to see the limited release Chonda Pierce movie, “Unashamed.” Chonda is a Christian Comedian and if you’ve never heard her, brace yourself for some unexpected comedy! And, men, it’s really not for you. I was able to go with our ladies because we had an extra ticket and I drove the van. 


As part of the movie, Chonda interviewed several Christian “in-the-news” people; former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, American Idol finalist and singer Danny Gokey, Michael Tait (lead singer for the Christian band Newsboys), fellow comedian Jeff Allen and the Benham brothers. Each had a story to tell of how their faith cost them something and how to live “unashamed” as Christians in an increasingly hostile world.


David and Jason Benham are successful real-estate brokers in the Charlotte area. They were all set to have a show on HGTV titled, “Flip It Forward” where they would remodel homes for people who could not afford to do so. They have never been shy about their Christian faith and HGTV knew all about it when they approached the brothers about a reality show. However, before the show even aired, protests arose about their “anti-gay” stance and pressure was put on HGTV and they pulled the plug. You can read the story from CNN if interested, but I just wanted to give you some background on who they were … that’s not what this blog is about.


As Chonda interviewed them, one of the brothers made an observation that really made an impact on me. They were talking about how faithful their mom had been, packing their lunch each day … and not just with PBJs, but she would make whole meals (Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes, etc.) for them! 


And then he transitioned to the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. He said (and that’s why I gave you all that background – I wanted the Benham brothers to get the credit), “So out of those 5,000+ people, don’t you think there were other children there? But this boy’s mom packed him a lunch!”


[To be fair and honest, we don’t know anything more about the story than what is in the Gospels – Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15.  John uses the generic word for child/boy, and so we don’t know how young or old he was, though presumably younger than 13, the traditional age of Jewish manhood.  I’ve heard people assert that the one boy could not possibly have been the only one in that crowd with food, “just the only one willing to share.” We just don’t know, and I don’t care for any “guessing” that detracts from the miracle, which is clearly the point of all four Gospels. And, we don’t know that it was his mom who actually packed him a lunch that day, but someone did!]


David (or Jason) made two very good points:


1.     Be faithful, always, especially with the small stuff. “Moms,” he said, “don’t discount the small, everyday things you do. They are important; they matter.”


Because …


2.     You never know who might unpack that lunch. In the case of that little boy, it was Jesus. 


Again, (see above), we don’t know what truly happened, but imagine some Jewish mother sending little Johnny, er, Judah off for the day, “Don’t forget your lunch!” and little Judah saying, “Awww mom, do I have to?” “Yes!” Little did she know …  later that day, as the disciples scavenged for food, lo and behold, this boy had two fish and five loaves of bread because his mother packed him a lunch.


What small, seemingly mundane, routine, un-important thing might you do that God will, one day, unpack for someone else? 


It was a huge eye-opener for me. 


·  What word of encouragement might you give to someone at their most needed or impressionable time?

·  What phone call or card might you send to someone who is in desperate need at that moment for someone, anyone to care?

·  What if while simply doing your “job” (whether that is packing lunches for your family, flying an airplane from NYC when a birdstrike knocks out both engines over the Hudson, or tending sheep at night in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago), what if God needed you there, in that place, doing "that" job, for something big? What if that day you decided you were not important or the “job” wasn’t important? What a loss that would be.


I know Mother’s Day 2019 has passed (I don’t know why I/we write these blogs after the fact, but I didn’t have this idea before Mother’s Day, so here it is), but I just want to say “Thank You!” to all the “mother’s” (or single dads, primary care dad’s, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) who do the small things … regularly … well … with love and attention. Maybe you don’t get the thanks you would like to get as often as you deserve it, but keep doing it. You just never know who might unpack the lunch you make.