So, this was a very spontaneous and quick visual lesson for three of God's sweetest treasures in my life (and I hope it inspires you and you can do something similar with the treasures in your life). This also later, flowed into a way to reinforce Christlike behavior. I found various containers and filled them... with sand. I smiled and told them they know me well, and asked them if they thought anything was in the containers besides sand. They grinned and all nodded "yes".
I asked which ones they would like to pick to look inside of. Ella pointed to the crystal glass with glitter sprinkled on top of the sand. I let her know that there actually wasn't anything in it except what she could see. There was only sand with glitter in a pretty glass. I asked Ella what her second choice was and she picked the bright blue glass with a little bit of sand on the bottom of the glass with glitter on top.
I told them that those glasses are much like people who have impressive outer appearances. Pretty clothes, fast cars, fancy jewelry and the coolest toys all make people seem like the people we would like as friends. But often, these people have very little inside. They work on looking great on the inside but as we get to know them we realize they are more concerned with what others think and may not make the kind of friends their hearts long for. Sometimes those who look fancy and cool on the outside end up being self centered friends who think more of themselves.
I explained to them that the simple containers represented people. When we try to get to know people that we may not initially be drawn to, often we will find much more than what we see on the outside. Then I told them to look inside the less impressive containers.
They were excited and intrigued. Each one made their choice of which vessel to pick. And then the fun began! Their expressions in the photos below capture the moment well!
The treasure hunt began! It was magical! Hidden inside of the sand were jewels and pearls.
Each one then shared the jewels they found in the container they chose! I let them each pick two to keep (I will later use these to teach another lesson). I then decided to use the jewels to remind them that there are beautiful treasures inside of each of them. Kindness, patience, sharing, gentleness, loving others and obedience are like treasures inside our hearts that can touch others.
Each jewel they held in their hands was completely different than the jewels and pearls the others had. This is much like each of us! Everyone has different gifts and things that make them unique and special. And there are different ways our lives can touch the world around us!
The jewels are in a little glass container on my kitchen table now! On the day we did this I felt they had enough to process and ponder with this parable of jewels hidden in the sand. This parable is something I will reprocess with them in the months ahead. Later, I also want to talk to them about something that really stuck with me this last Ash Wednesday!
Our lives are so brief! I will never forget the words spoken over me last Wednesday as ashes were placed on my forehead in the shape of a cross. "From ashes you came and to ashes you will return!" The following words after that were, "Repent and receive the Good News of Jesus Christ!" The first part moved me deeply and it reminds me of the sand and jewels.
All we will have to take to heaven are the eternal jewels and pearls of kindness and love we share with others. There is much hidden below the surface of my life... and your life. But we can't take anything with us. The only thing that will remain are the things that point others to the eternal love of Christ. Jewels are formed in hidden places of our lives and sometimes are created due to great pressure and heat. Pearls are formed when "tears" within an oyster surround something that is painful to an oyster. From tears... pearls! From heat and pressure... jewels!
In the days ahead, I will continue to try to live out loving others well and make the most of every opportunity and I will use the jewels on my kitchen table to teach valuable lessons to these precious kiddos!
I hope that what I share has inspired you and maybe you can use this lesson to teach your own children! Maybe it will inspire you to focus on the jewels inside of yourself and challenge you to find ways to share Christ's love with others. This is my prayer!