Sacred Sandwiches: Some Reflections on Colossians 3:23-24

My son and I were making sandwiches the other day — three turkey sandwiches and a peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwich to be exact. There were two issues during this sandwich making event. First, my son decided that he now hates peanut butter (we are praying for his salvation.) And secondly, the PB&J is for his sister. He’s nine going on 10. And she’s six going on 20 years old, and I think she bought his birthright for some red Starburst candy. They know they have to love each other and get along, but they have some tension. Needless to say, I ordered my son to make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich for his sister and I made the turkey sandwiches. I call it “sandwich spiritual disciplines.”

As he was carefully plastering peanut butter one side of her wheat bread I asked him “how should you make that sandwich?” I began to think I may have to qualify the question. He responded with the answer he thought I wanted to hear. “As if I am making the sandwich for myself,” he said proudly. I suspect that he thought his answer would get him an extra Oreo. I corrected him and explained that to make it for yourself is good but to make it for God is much better. I said to him “make every sandwich as unto the lord, not for your sister, remember lil bro it is the Lord you are serving.”

Kids get it. If you tell them to make a sandwich like you are making it for yourself, they will make it the largest sandwich ever. If you tell them they are making it for the Lord, they will make the same sandwich, but they will make it more carefully. He didn’t go look for sacred jelly or grab the fine china (we do not have any anyway) so the spread of the peanut bread would be more holy. He made the same sandwich for the same sister. Only now he took the Maker of bread and the earth into account.                              

Somewhere between PB&J sandwiches and appreciating Hot Wings we forgot this lesson. Either the food became less holy or we became more holy? The simple notion that “whatever you do” changed. “Whatever” became whatever you can see as holy. Whatever you see in the temple. Whatever has Gregorian chants behind it, do that unto the Lord. And before you know it, peanut butter and jelly became a secular sandwich.

When we were kids it was easier see everything as “unto the Lord.” We accepted it. It was that simple. We do not question what we were taught with strategic hesitancy. Then we got older and got in a big hurry. Perhaps our first step toward redirecting ourselves to “everything” is to remember when everything was indeed everything. Where you loved your neighbor who ate your sandwich or you shared your Legos with, because it was unto the Lord. When “He’s got the whole world in His hands” was not rhetorical systematic theology for the sovereignty of God at work in the predestined salvation of mankind through the propitiatory sacrifice of the Son of God exclusively. But He literally has the whole world in his hands….he’s got you and me brother….in his hands also.

I have had some great opportunities to clean some amazing buildings and build some amazing buildings also. I have pulled stuffing from shoes and stuffed a dishwasher with dishes. I have had great moments with some well-known achievers. I have had friendship so surreal all the verses in scripture about friendship came to life. All those moments sandwiched together became clearer when I realized (or rather remembered) who I was cleaning, building, stuffing, and washing for in the first place.

“Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ.” — Colossians 3:23-24

Topics: Work and Discipleship

About the Author

Delano Sheffield is discipleship pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO, and a co-city director for the Kansas City network of Made to Flourish.