This week as HiSKidZ learned about living for God rather than living for ourselves, we used this simple object lesson to help bring the heart of our teaching into the hearts of our children. Our lesson was about how King Solomon realized that living for self is meaningless.
To bring this point home, I found some things at the church–baby food jars, macaroni, and ping pong balls. I used two empty jars, two ping pong balls and enough macaroni to fill the baby food jars. Can I add that I love that I didn’t have to spend a dime? Woohoo!!
Each jar was filled with macaroni with a ping pong ball placed on top. On the balls was written the word “God” and on the jars was the word, “You.”
I asked the kids how we could get the ping pong balls into the jars. We were all in agreement that the only way was to dump out the macaroni. So we emptied one of the jars and put the ping pong ball inside.
Then we added the macaroni back in.
Almost all of the macaroni fit in, but there were a few pieces that we just couldn’t get back in the jar. Perfect!
Then I turned the jars around and explained to the kids that the jars represented our lives and the macaroni represented the things that are important to us–friends, family, school, sports, hobbies, electronics, media, etc., and the ping pong balls represented God.
We talked about how if we want Jesus to be the center of our life, we will have to empty ourselves of what we want and give Him priority. With Jesus at the center, many of the things that mean so much to us will still fit into our life, but they will fit around Jesus, not the other way around.
We also saw that some things will have to be left out if God is going to keep His place at our center. But as the kids saw the two jars, they readily agreed that in order to have Jesus at the heart of their life rather than an extra part of their life, it would be worth it to give up whatever they had to.
Together we were reminded that if we aren’t careful we can fill our lives with so many things that we want, that we squeeze out what He wants.
We also decided that if the wisest man ever, King Solomon, had a hard time getting this right, then we, for sure, better keep relying on the Lord to help us keep Him in the rightful place He deserves.
Last night in our mid-week program, I got to share this object lesson again with a group of 6th grade students, and was so excited to hear them talk through how to keep God at the center of their life by asking Him to lead them, spending time at church with other believers who have Christ as their center, listening to Him through the Word and prayer, obedience and by saying “no” to things that squeeze Him out of their lives–a good lesson for us all.