Don’t Look Back

Pentecost Proper 8; 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Note from the author: Sorry for the confusion of the previous weeks, but we are now on the “proper” Proper!

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Luke 9:57-62  man-with-hand-plow

Preparation: Make a long straight line with tape on the floor near where you meet with the children—for example, from the steps of the altar partway down the center aisle.

If Jesus came into church right now and asked you to follow him, what would you do? (Let children answer.) Now, what if Jesus told you that if you follow him, you will be sleeping out in the rain in cardboard boxes? Would it be easy to follow him? (Let children answer.) What if Jesus said, “I want you to come and be my disciple right now. There isn’t time to run back and say good-bye to your family.” Would it be hard to follow Jesus then? (Discuss.) Of course, kids always have to tell their parents where they’re going. But if you were grown up, this could be a choice you would have to make.

Jesus was on his way to the city of Jerusalem, and he knew he was going to die on a cross. On his way, Jesus invited some grown-ups to come along with him; and some other people asked if they could go with Jesus. Not all of them ended up going with Jesus, however, because they had to make tough choices. Some of the people said they would follow Jesus, but first they had to take care of important matters, or first they had to say good-bye to their families. Jesus told them, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 NIV)

Have you ever tried to draw a long straight line on the sidewalk with chalk? It’s easy to end up with a wobbly line, isn’t it? Well, it’s even harder to cut a straight line in the soil with a plow. The person plowing has to use a big blade that cuts the soil. He has to keep his eyes straight ahead to see where he is going, and he has to concentrate really hard. If he keeps turning around to look behind him, what do you think will happen to the line in the dirt? (Let kids answer.)

I’d like two volunteers to help me out. (Choose volunteers.) I want you to take turns walking down this line. [Name of Child One], you will keep your eyes straight ahead, watching carefully where you’re going. Don’t look around, even if you hear us yell, “Hey!” (Try this with first volunteer.) [Name of Child Two], you will walk straight down the line, but when you hear us yell, turn your head and look at us while you walk. (Try this with second volunteer.) Who did a better job of walking a straight line? (Discuss.)

It’s not always easy to follow Jesus. But it always helps to keep our eyes on him, to watch and pray so we see where he wants us to go. When we take our eyes off Jesus, when we forget about him, that’s when our lives start to go crooked.

Prayer:  Jesus, we want to follow you. Help us  keep our eyes on you and go where you lead us.

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