Childrens Sermons Series: HANNAH FOUND THE RIGHT “FRIENDS” FOR SAMUEL
(This childrens sermon is based on 1 Samuel 1-2. Teacher words are in bold)
• play dough, one fist-sized glob for each child
• a real mug (or if you have the kind without the handle that’s even better)
• 1 bottled water
Have your parents taught you the expression, “You become what you associate with?” Samuel’s mom wanted him to be a great prophet. At that time, there had not been many visions in Israel. But she wanted his greatness. So, she sent him to live with the priest.
Granted, today, parents don’t do that. They want their children to play with other children. However, some parents want their children to go to private schools that are small, or Christian schools, and some parents want to home school. They want their kids to have friends who don’t go to school. In nearly all these cases, the idea driving the parents is that kids become what they associate with.
Give each child a blob of play dough about the size of a golf ball. Ask them to squeeze it, roll it around, and make any shape they want to. Keep one blob for yourself
This play dough is a lot like us when we are children. We are soft or what we call “pliable.” “Pliable” means something can be made into any number of shapes.
Our hand is sort of like the people we come in contact with. They can shape us in different ways, depending on their own shapes. Let’s pretend you hang out with some really rough friends who enjoy putting pressure on people to do things they might not want to do.
Squeeze the play dough in your hands and have the children do the same.
What happened to your shape? It got really thin and weak under the weight of all that pressure, didn’t it? Are tough people who enjoy putting peer pressure on us the best to hang out with? No.
Roll the play dough into a ball again and have them do the same.
So let’s say your friends “nice” but not necessarily “good.” Remember our lessons on the difference between “nice” and “good?” Even mafia guys in jail think their friends are “nice;” do you understand? And let’s say these nice people really don’t care about being good. They’re funny and can be fun, but they don’t care about God or Jesus or living right. They have great personalities, but underneath that little glean, they really don’t care about much. They’re just…morally “limp.”
Pretend your hand is very weak, and it hardly makes an impression on the ball of dough. Encourage them to do the same.
The friends we get closest to should want the same things for us that God wants for us. They should love us in a soft but firm way.
Wrap your hand around the play dough firmly, so it forms a cylinder but doesn’t squeeze out the top or bottom. Encourage them to do the same.
Friends want us to be “deep,” to think about things. Like God, they want “depth of character” and they will encourage us to think about things before we do them…gauge out consequences for bad actions and rewards for good ones.
Stick your thumb down into the clay so that you hollow it out. Encourage them to do the same. The end result should be that they have something resembling a cup without a handle.
Friends should help us to mold ourselves the way that God would, so that someday, we can “hold” the fruit of the spirit inside of us.
Have everyone put their cup down on the table in front of them once they’ve gotten it shaped like yours. Pick up a real cup. If you have one without a handle, all the better. Hold it out for all to see.
Because what happens is that as the years progress, you begin to harden, like the clay. That is a good thing—if you are the right shape. If you are long and thin and weak, or if you are fat and round and have no depth, you will not be able to hold anything important to the Lord.
You are being shaped throughout your childhood, just like Samuel was being shaped by the priests and prophets he hung out with.
You want to love everyone, but you want to be careful who gets to help shape you, and everyone you hang out with will be a part of that “hand.” When your clay hardens, you want to be like this.
Hold out the cup again. Take some bottled water and pour some into the cup.
If you don’t have any depth, you won’t be able to hold the fruits of the spirit. The book of Galations, Chapter 5, verse 22, describes the fruit of the spirit as…
Pour a little more into the cup as each fruit is recited:
…joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
King David described his joy as “my cup runneth over.”
Fill the cup to the top and let a few drops spill over.
It all starts with who you let mold you and influence you now. Let’s make a vow today to choose our best friends wisely and to not let people mold us—with fun, peer pressure, or fear—so that eventually we will be able to hold lots of spirit from the Lord.