God often has great things in store for us – but we give up on him too quickly. That’s one message of the parable of the ten maidens, who forgot the oil for their lamps. The oil can be compared to faith that we get from prayer, which enables us to patiently wait for him in times of trouble.
Kids can know, by studying this parable, that they can still “shine” in tough times if they keep believing in God no matter what.
Scripture: Matthew 25:1″13
Materials for Lesson
- 2 flashlights
- Batteries that fit the flashlights (and function!)
- 2 index cards
- Scotch tape
Preparation for Lesson
1. Take all the batteries out of both flashlights. Put enough batteries aside to fill one of them, and make sure they work.
2. On the two index cards, draw two very similar smiley faces, though one may have curly hair and one straight hair. Turn the flashlights face down and tape the smile faces to what is now the tops of the flashlights so that they look like two boys.
**Note: What you, the teacher, should say is in bold**
In the parable of the Ten Maidens, what did the maidens forget while they were awaiting the bride groom? Oil for their lamps.
These days, we don’t carry little hand”held lamps around to see. If it’s dark out, we use a flashlight.
Hold up one of the flashlights.
And we don’t use lamp oil anymore. What do we use? Batteries.
Hold up the batteries.
The oil for the lamps, or batteries in flashlights, these items are a little like our faith in tough times.
We can forget what we need to have to “make our lights shine among men,” as Jesus said in Matthew 5:16.
Let’s talk about Raphael and Ashaad.
Put the flashlights on the table, face down, standing beside one another so that kids can see the smiley faces and make the connection that these are two boys.
Ashaad tries hard to be a good Christian. Raphael just tries hard in life. Both boys want to make the basketball team. Neither of them have the most ability.
Push Raphael forward.
Raphael seems to think that all he has to do is practice.
Push Ashaad forward. Grip and rattle him a bit as if he is thinking and praying.
Ashaad realizes that there are a lot of people trying out. He needs a magic moment or two. While practicing for two weeks, he keeps praying for a couple moments to shine so that the coach can see him. Raphael just keeps practicing his jump shot.
When they go to try out, both have had a lot of practice. But Ashaad also has faith. He knows the Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive; seek and ye shall find.” From his time in prayer, he senses that God has no reason for him not to make the basketball team.
Unscrew Ashaad, put the batteries in him. Make sure they are facing the right way!
Raphael has no clue. He’s just going to try his best. Without God’s help.
Simply put Raphael forward beside Ashaad again. Rattle Raphael a bit.
Just before the try”outs start, Raphael starts to pray then. He hasn’t been praying for three weeks. He has no idea what God’s will is because he hasn’t asked for it. And in this gym with all this noise and loud voices and echoes and tense energy, he’s not in a position to sense God’s presence or hear His still, small voice.
Unscrew Raphael and throw in one battery, and put him back together. Turn him on. Shrug.
It’s like Raphael forgot his “oil,” his faith, and now he can’t shine.
Put down Raphael, pick up Ashaad, and turn him on so he shines brightly in the faces of the students.
Ashaad has been praying enough that he almost “brings God to the gym with him,” or he brings that calm reassuring energy he got from God by spending time with him. It’s almost like his smile glows!
Ashaad looks for his moments to shine and finds them – because he knows what he’s been looking for.
What does the coach end up doing?
Hold up Ashaad, shining, and Raphael, not shining.
Ashaad gets into the “feast.” He gets on the team. Raphael goes away disappointed, wondering why God doesn’t answer prayer and if maybe he should have practiced more.
We need to take time each morning to greet Jesus, tell him our problems, and listen for answers, and feel his love and direction. That’s what Ashaad did.
Shine Ashaad around again.
That way, we won’t get caught short like the Ten Maidens. We won’t miss the big party or whatever it is for us!
The prophet Isaiah predicted this about the coming of the Lord Jesus: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light will shine.” That’s God’s love that can fill us and make us shine toward others.
But we have to do like Ashaad, and not like Raphael and the Ten Maidens. We have to get full of faith before we need it, before we can expect to shine!
Come back next week for the second and final part of this Bible lesson, which includes a game that your students are sure to love!