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Sand and Rocks

Children's Ministry Object Lesson: You'll need a 1-gallon jar, 10 to 12 fist-sized rocks, a 1-gallon zip-lock bag of sand, and a pan or washtub. Practice this ahead of time to determine the exact amount of sand to use.

Choose an older child to help you hold the jar.

Say: In this children's bible lesson, this jar represents our day, and we have many things to fit into that day.

Have your helper hold up the jar during the entire activity so everyone can see.

Say: Let's see if we can get all these activities inside it. Begin putting the sand in, a little at a time, asking kids to call out things that fill their days, such as school, getting ready for school, watching TV, eating, and more.

Say: Now that we have all that in our day, let's see if we can fit the important things in our day. What are the important things you need to do to ensure that your relationship with Jesus is strong?

Place the rocks in the jar as you repeat what they say... and add things if they don't say enough, such as prayer, reading the Bible, thinking about God, talking about God, and more. The rocks will not all fit into the container with the sand.

Say: Hmmm. This is a lot like our lives. We get so busy doing "things" that we often leave out the priorities.

As you talk, take the rocks out and pour the sand back into its empty container.

Say: Crowds followed Jesus everywhere he went. They wanted to hear him teach, and they wanted him to heal sick friends and family members. Jesus was a busy man, but in Luke 6:12 we see something very important. It says, "One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night." Jesus spent time with God because he knew how important it was to talk to God. We need to spend time with God, too, or else the priority things will get squeezed right out of our lives. We can follow Jesus' example and make the most important things a priority.

Repeat the important things as you put the rocks in the jar first.

After the rocks are in, pour in the sand. It will fill in the cracks, and everything will fit into the jar. Encourage kids to choose the most important things first every day this week. Then close in prayer by having everyone read together the child-version of the Serenity Prayer:

God, help me accept things I can't change;
Give me courage to change things I can;
And give me wisdom to know the difference.

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