In this Bible Object Lesson, polishing a tarnished piece of silver will help kids understand the journey of life with Jesus as polisher and us as the vessel. (It will also explain carbon on a scientific level and how something black can become shiny and new!)
Bible Object Lesson: How Jesus Gives us our Shine
Household object needed: Piece of tarnished silver
Bile Object Lesson Materials
• An old piece of sterling silver—vase, plate, dish, etc.– that needs polishing
• Silver Polish (we recommend one of the brands that comes in the short, round container, with the sponge on top of the polishing paste!)
• Water in a large dish or bucket
• Dry tea-towel
• Dry large bath towel that will get tarnish/carbonite on it and collect water while polishing
Bible Object Lesson Preparation
Polish a tiny bit of the silver underneath or not squarely visible to make sure that it will come clean when you polish it before the children!
Bible Object Lesson
This tarnished piece of silver is in the “autumn of its life.” Does anyone know what I mean by that?
It means it has had a long life, has been used many times and has many experiences behind it. It’s a lot like me! I used to have pretty skin like you guys have, and my hair used to be naturally shiny like yours. But I’ve lived longer. It’s like you’re in the “summer” of your lives. Summer is the season when plants and most animals are born. Summer is a fun season.
Some of you may look at adults and think, “Gee. They’re not as pretty. They can’t run and jump as much. They don’t like to go on rides at the amusement park anymore. Seems like grownups like to sit around a bit more. What fun is that?
Actually, being in the autumn of your life is amazing. You can own property. Your parents don’t tell you what to do. You can decide for yourself. You’re a leader of others.
Even not looking as great has its advantages. Hold up the piece of silver. We get to see what Jesus is doing to us on the inside. As we walk with Him over a lifetime, He works magic on us.
Moisten the sponge in the water, dip it in the paste and begin to rub on the silver. When we first begin to walk with Jesus, He begins taking the “tarnish” away, which is like our sins. The silver polish is like the blood He shed for us on the cross. The water is like the Holy Spirit. Together with our faith, our sins start to go away.
What’s happening to this spot that I’m rubbing and rubbing? It’s getting shinier. If you have to rinse the spot with some water for them to see, do it.
In Deuteronomy 6:5, God tell us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. This is the first and greatest commandment.” To do that, we need Jesus’s help.
Take more paste on the sponge and more water, and start polishing again. As we walk with Jesus, slowly He starts working to polish our hearts, souls and minds so that someday we’ll be like him.
Let the children take turns rubbing a bit (watch clothing) while you talk.
Let’s look at it scientifically because that’s fun, too! Tarnish is a chemical reaction from when metal meets with a nonmetal element, usually oxygen or sulfur dioxide. If this silver were kept in an oxygen-free environment, it would not have tarnished!
The carbonite created is the tarnish, the dull black and gray on the surface.
The tarnished silver is like us as we proceed through our seasons of life. If we lived in a sterile, sin-free environment, our hearts, souls and minds would not be “tarnished!”
But Jesus puts us in the world, to interact with people and work with them, and love them, and ultimately, to share His love for them. It looks like our souls can get very “tarnished” by being around so much sin. But He is always there, helping to fix us up when we ask him.
Finish the polishing with your class, letting everyone have a turn. Note little things:
When the polish is doing its job, we see bubbles that look like suds. Those bubbles are like God’s word, doing its work on our souls.
Watch what happens when we rinse and dry the silver. Every tarnished piece of silver needs a good rub! See how it gets shinier? And what’s on the tea-towel? The carbonite. The tea-towel is a little like Jesus, rubbing out our sins and taking them onto himself.
After you’ve polished and shined for a while:
It may not be perfect, but the silver sure looks a lot better, doesn’t it? In Philippians 1:6, Apostle Paul says, “I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
We may not be perfect until we die. But our hearts, souls and minds sure do look a lot better when we walk with Jesus!
As we grow older and go through the seasons of life, let’s remember that we might look worse on the outside, but we are becoming more and more polished on the inside…thanks to Jesus’s love and forgiveness.
I am so excited to share this Bible object lesson with you , and hope you are just as excited to try it with your students! Don’t forget to Follow Me on Twitter, where I will be sharing more great Bible object lessons and other ideas!