The Lesson of the PB&J

by Deb DeArmond

The Disciples were an interesting cast of characters. They were dissimilar in their personalities and professional pursuits. Those distinct differences could be a gift, as they could combine their strengths while working together. But those differences also created challenges, as they often disagreed on a variety of topics. In Luke 6: 12-16, the apostles are identified by name. Two are described. Simon, who was called a zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who would become a traitor.

Luke 6 is a treasure trove—a hidden store of valuable or delightful things. One of my favorite passages is found there: “But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28 CEB).

This passage supplied an everyday opportunity for my children at one point. I’m not sure we had a zealot and a traitor in the camp, but their ability to “pray for those who mistreat you” was often in question.

Three sons, with five years separating the first and last, was an everyday adventure. Bikes, skates, super-hero toys and basketballs. By the time the oldest two were nine and six, their personalities were diverse—which is the nice way to say they were nothing alike and rarely saw eye to eye. 

The background music during those years was a fevered pitch that made me cringe. The greatest hits on most days included those all-time favorites “That’s not fair!” and “Mom! He’s cheating!”

Sharing was a frequent challenge. I felt akin to Solomon as they trooped in for my decree as to the real owner of the toy truck or “How much longer does he get the skateboard before it’s my turn?”

While they never strayed into the “I hate you,” territory, the concept of “love one another as you love yourself” seemed out of reach in those moments. But the idea of keeping the peace seemed a bit more attainable. Determined to teach these two the value of fairness, working together, and sharing, I hit on a solution out of sheer desperation.

It was the last day before the weekly grocery run, and lunch fixings were in short supply. Two lopsided slices of bread and the scrapings at the bottom of the peanut butter jar created momentary panic . . . and a lifelong Bible lesson.

I made the sandwich and presented it to my younger son. “Jordan, you’ll cut the sandwich in half.” He pumped his fist. “And Cameron, you’ll choose first which half you want.” He smiled wide.

Jordan slumped in his chair and crossed his arms. He then leaned into his assignment and tackled the sandwich with the precision of a diamond cutter. His calculation was important, and both boys were satisfied. He was successful in his mission.

So was I.

That PB&J became their life lesson for God’s instruction loving one another. It also worked with son #3 – and now as full-grown men, I see the fruit of that Bible verse, as I watch them guide their children with the same principles. I’ve enjoyed observing my sons guide the combined group of my seven grandsons—with boy #8 on the way. Life in Jesus helps make the testosterone zone a fabulous place to be!

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 3:17 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Deb DeArmond is an award-winning author, speaker and writing coach, helping others to achieve their goals whether in marriage, family relationships, at work, or in ministry. Her books reflect that path. Her newest release, We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished, encourages and informs women 50+ how to make the rest of their life the best of their life.

Join the conversation: What Bible verses are/were important to you as your raise/raised your children?

7 thoughts on “The Lesson of the PB&J

  1. Yes! Loved that method! We only were blessed with one child, but I had friends who used that great lesson! Great blog, Deb.

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  2. So funny and so true. Between 2 sons, husband and a male dog the testosterone zone around my house was thick too. Love the lessons!!!

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  3. Deb, you have the wisdom of Solomon! I just watched a podcast where a parent had to “try” to get the truth from two children who were claiming innocence about something spilled on the rug. The parent asked each one (separately), “What should the consequence be for the person who spilled the drink?” The one child gave 5 different consequences. The other one said, “Don’t drink in the living room?” No problem knowing who was guilty. 🙂

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