“That’s mine! You can’t have it!” snarled Ethan at his six-year-old sister Anna. She hugged his dinosaur drawing book to her chest. As her older brother wrenched it from her grasp, he scratched her arm. “Grandma Bessie gave it to me for my eighth birthday. Play with your own stuff!”
“Mom! Mom! Ethan won’t share. He’s being selfish!" screeched Anna.
“Ethan and Anna,” sighed Mom from the kitchen. “After dealing with kids’ squabbles all day at work, I’d just love some peace and quiet."
“Oh, well, guess a quiet evening isn’t in the cards,” the weary parent muttered as she pushed her chair away from the kitchen table.
Shooting up an emergency prayer, Mom entered the war zone. By now, Anna was lying on her back with Ethan sitting on her stomach, holding the drawing book above his head at arm’s length.
The harried mother moved the basket of folded clothes from the couch onto the coffee table and patted the cushions on either side of her. “Settle down, kids. Come sit beside me while we figure this out.”
Ethan let Anna wiggle out from under him. She snuggled up quickly beside her mama. Ethan, on the other hand, stood defiantly, holding the book behind his back. “Awe, Mom,” his freckled nose wrinkled in irritation. “Why can’t you ever just take my side? Grandma gave the book to me, not to Anna.” Nonetheless, he scuffled across the braided rug to the overstuffed sofa and planted himself as close to the cushy arm as he could.
“Hey, guys, do you remember the Bible story from last night’s devotions?” she asked hopefully.
“Yeah, it was about some boy who gave his fishies and bread to Jesus,” Anna offered cheerfully.
“He gave his lunch of five loaves and two fish, not fishies, to feed a big crowd of people who were listening to Jesus preach,” Ethan countered in a spirit of competition.
“Ok now, let’s think about this. How would you like to give away your entire lunch, even the stuff you like?” Mom gazed into their eyes.
“I wouldn’t like that!” Ethan didn’t mince words. “I wouldn’t want to be hungry.”
“You know, I bet the boy in the story thought about that too,” Mom thoughtfully replied.
“Yeah, but he got a lot to eat when Jesus broke up the bread and fishies,” Anna remembered.
“But the boy didn’t know that was going to happen when he gave up his lunch,” Mom reminded the two. “I wonder why he was willing to do that. Why do you think he gave his lunch to the disciples, Ethan?”
Ethan’s grumpy face had softened since the earlier quarrel. “Maybe he did it because of Jesus."
“How do you think he felt when he saw Jesus filling all those baskets full of his lunch?” She was getting into this story now!
“I bet it was really cool seeing Jesus do that miracle,” Ethan was equally engaged.
“You know, kids, if the boy had any selfish thoughts before he handed over the lunch, he probably felt ashamed once he saw what Jesus did with the loaves and fish.” She prayed as she tried to come full circle back to the argument over the dinosaur book.
“Ethan, I remember how excited you were when you asked Jesus into your heart last summer at Bible school. When people love Jesus, son, the Holy Spirit inside them helps them want to share. Does that make sense?” She looked into his brown eyes; tears started sliding over his freckles onto his chin.
“I’m sorry, Mom. Anna can use my book. I never thought about Jesus having anything to do with it,” he choked out between sobs.
Mom felt like she could cry too. She was thankful that he was showing such sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. “You know, honey, I don’t think a lot of Christians do. When we’re selfish our hearts start getting harder and harder. Jesus likes to soften our hearts so we can have a good relationship with Him. Then we get along better with our family members too.” She gave both of her precious children hugs and kisses. With a wink, she jumped up. “First one to the kitchen makes the hot chocolate.”
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