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Streams of Service

Aim: To encourage the children to serve Christ unconditionally

Core Competency: Church

Objectives: The children will

  • understand that salvation is a gift given equally to all whom Jesus calls
  • work to honor Christ, not to earn rewards
  • accept that Jesus rewards our work according to His pleasure, not according to what we deserve

Key Verse: "So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’" ( Luke 17:10 )

Story: "We Have Only Done Our Duty " ( Luke 17:7-10,Matthew 19:16-20:16 )

Materials Required:

  • Bottles, 2 Liter (two) with Caps
  • Drill
  • Food Coloring (red)
  • Pan

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation: In one of the 2 liter bottles, drill a small (about 3 mm / 1/8" diameter) hole about halfway between the top and bottom. In the other 2 liter bottle, drill four smaller (1.5 mm / 1/16" diameter) holes equally spaced from top to bottom. Fill both bottles with water tinted heavily with red food coloring so that it is easily visible.

During Class: Briefly discuss the Rich Young Ruler's predicament, as found in Matthew 19:16-26 . Satan prevents us from doing good in our own power ( Matthew 19:17 ). Thus, man’s good works cannot save him ( Matthew 19:26 ). With God, however, all things are possible, and He chooses to provide salvation as a free gift to those whom He chooses.

Show the "one hole bottle" with the cap tightly closed. Set it upright in the pan and point out the hole. Ask the children why the water doesn't come rushing out. (Air cannot get into the bottle, so reduced air pressure inside the bottle allows the normal air pressure outside the bottle to hold the water in against the force of gravity.) Explain that the liquid represents our good works, the hole a person seeking to do good works, and the bottle cap Satan.

When we accept the gift of salvation, God frees us from Satan’s bondage and enables us to do good works in His name ( Ephesians 2:10 ). (Remove the bottle cap; the water will quickly stream through the hole.) Thus, all honors are due Him rather than us. This is our privilege and duty. Briefly discuss the dutiful servant ( Luke 17:7-10).

Briefly discuss the parable of the vinyard workers ( Matthew 20:1-16 ). Some laborers worked much harder than others, yet they all received the same pay. Was this fair? Yes - the vineyard owner was free to be as generous as he wished with his own money. (Possibly the vineyard owner did not even need laborers for his vineyard, but rather was providing the dignity of work to those who would otherwise rely on charity. This hypothesis is consistent with what we know of God - He does not need our good works, but grants us the privelege of serving Him and bringing honor to His name.

Show the "four hole bottle" - this represents four Christians who are serving Christ. Stand up the bottle, resulting in four streams. Notice that the top stream lands much closer to the bottle than the bottom stream (this is because the water pressure is greater at deeper points under water). If the difference is not clear, place your mouth over the neck of the bottle and blow, causing the streams to increase. This illustrates that people have different abilities, and some will accomplish more good works that others even with equal effort. But should they get a greater reward? Who cares? Jesus will reward us according to His pleasure and generosity. ( Matthew 20:4 ). This is certainly very good, because we do not want to receive what we deserve, which is condemnation for our sin!

Add a cap to the "four hole bottle". The top stream reverses to bring air into the bottle, supporting the lower streams. God expects us to work together to overcome Satan's hinderances. We accomplish the most when we serve each other.

It is unseemly and crude to worry about rewards; we serve God out of love and duty. However, you can be confident that God will reward your service generously.

Application Questions: Are you truly happy when someone else is recognized for service? When recognized for your service, will you give all of the glory to God who enables you? What wrong attitude regarding service will you pray to change this week?

Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern plant and animal classification (1707-1778), noticed that many flowers open and close at fairly precise times during the day. He became obsessed with his concept for a floral clock, or "horologium florae", as he called it in his Philosophia Botanica (1751, pages 274-276). His idea was to plant flowers around the face of a very large clock such that, by observing which flower was blooming, the time could be deduced. For the scheme to work, of course, each flower must do its duty precisely, never failing to open or close on schedule, and not interfering with the blooms of nearby flowers.

Application Questions:Are you so reliable in your duties to God that you could be part of God's "horologium florae"?

Used: KIDZ 7/97 , BSF 8/98 , DUNN 5/01 , KIDZ 10/01

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