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Active Humility

Aim: To teach the children that humility isn't just how you think, but also what you do

Core Competency: Humility

Objectives: The children will

  • Be humble
  • Serve others

Key Verse: Cloth yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble". ( 1 Pe 3:8 )

Story: "Jesus Demonstrates Humility " ( Jo 13:1-17 )

Materials Required:

  • Penny
  • Dollar coin (Sacagawea)
  • Paper, 1 sheet
  • Scissors
  • $20 bill
  • $20 in small change

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation:Fold a sheet of paper in half, and cut a hole exactly the size and shape of the penny, as shown below.

During Class: The Bible teaches humility as a Godly virtue. 1 Peter 3:8 says in part, "Be humble." Ephesians 4:2 is even more emphatic: "Be completely humble."

We are easily led into thinking too highly of ourselves, of considering our opinions better than others and our accomplishments more praiseworthy. The story is told of a minister who survived the Great Jonestown Flood. As he grew older, his telling of the tale became more elaborate and his actions more heroic - and he certainly practiced the story often! Finally the old minister died and, while conversing with Saint Peter, saw a large crowd of saints nearby. "Oh, please!" he exclaimed with delight, "May I tell this fine crowd how I survived the Great Jonestown Flood?" "Well, ok," answered Saint Peter dubiously. "But keep in mind that Noah is in the crowd!"

How embarrassing it can be to see yourself in God's eternal eyes! However, obsessing over what we aren't can be just as self-absorbing as obsessing over what we are. Golda Meir (1898-1978) said, "Don't be so humble. You're not that great!"

In fact, humility is first and foremost a matter of serving others. 1 Peter 5:5 says you are to "Clothe yourself with humility" - that is, wrap it tightly around you like an apron, in preparation for service to others.

To become truly humble, therefore, you must train yourself in two ways.

  1. Think of yourself with "sober judgement" - We must look at ourselves in an honest light - with our Father's eyes - to see us as we really are. Not only our faults, but also our gifts - the precious abilities God has provided so that we can be effective in serving Him.
  2. Use your gifts fully and cheerfully in God's service - Having identified our gifts, we must then seek to apply them completely to accomplishing the purpose God has given us in life.

The Syrian Orthodox Church practices a time-honored tradition that epitomizes humility. Every Good Friday a basin of water is brought to the bishop, who uses it to wash the feet of the choirboys. By this he reminds us of Jesus, who although God still "clothed Himself in humility" by washing His disciples' feet. (Tell the story of John 13:1-17 in your own words, or read it from the Bible.)

(Hold up a penny.) This penny represents Jesus - not because He is of little value, for He is the Son of God! Rather, a penny is unassuming in power and is rarely noticed by most people (would you stop to pick up a penny on the ground?).

The hole in this piece of paper is exactly the size of the penny. Like a shadow, it reminds us of the penny without being a penny itself. It represents any Christian, you or me, who is trying to be humble like Jesus.

But if we strive to be humble, won't our service be of little value? (Hold up the $1 coin.) How could we do a great thing for God (represented by this $1 coin) if we're just a penny? It would be like this large coin passing through this small penny-size hole - impossible! (And yet surely we must be able to do great things for God in humility, for Jesus did the greatest thing in respecting His Father's will for His life.)

Here's how. Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to this world, but rather to be transformed by having your mind renewed. Transform means "to change appearance or shape". When we transform the paper like this (grasp the paper where indicated by the red dots, and move the opposite ends of the folded paper as shown, deforming the paper), the penny-sized hole of humility is able to pass the $1 coin of great works for God without tearing.

In the same way, when we allow God to transform our mind through His Spirit, we are able to accomplish great things for Him and be happy when He receives all praise and glory for what has been done.

How honoring it would be to give up your life for Christ, to die a martyr as did almost all of the apostles. Giving your life for Christ would be like giving this $20 bill to the church.

But it need not be done all at one time. You can begin by bringing school supplies to church for the needy (drop a nickel on the table). Make friends with new child at school and explain the gospel to him with your life (drop a dime on the table). Volunteer one evening a month at a church-sponsored homeless shelter (drop a quarter on the table). Sacrifice your life for Christ every day, in pennies and nickels and dimes, and you will have given your life for Jesus. (Slowly pour the $20 worth of coins on the table.)

Application Questions: Have you asked Jesus to reveal to you the gifts of the Spirit that are present in your life? How will you let God use them this week? Will you allow God to receive all of the glory for the good works He accomplishes through you?

Used: KIDZ 07/97 , KIDZ 08/01 , BSF 01/00

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