Count the Cost

Pentecost Proper 18; 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Reference: Deut. 30:19 and Luke 14:25-33

From “Scolding the Snakes” 

Preparation: Make two large signs—one reading, “LIFE” and the other, “DEATH.”  Chinas Toys

Think of a toy that you really would like to have. (Let kids respond.) Let’s pretend that your parents say you can have it if you pay for it. So you start saving. You save up money from your allowance. You save your gift money. You work at jobs on the weekends and save all of that money, too. Finally, after a whole year, you have enough money to buy the toy. You walk into the toy store, and you look at the toy once more before you buy it. Then you look at the money in your hand, and you think about how long it took to earn that money and how much work you did and how many dollars you put aside. Suddenly a thought enters your head: It’s not worth it. This toy is not worth it. And so you take your hard-earned money and walk out of the store.

Before you make a big decision, it is important to count the cost. You have to ask, “How much is it worth to me?” Before we decide to follow Jesus with our whole hearts, God wants us to think about our decision very carefully. In the Old Testament reading, God told the Israelites that they had a really important decision to make: they could either follow the one true God or else follow the old, pretend gods. Choose God and life, or choose the pretend gods and death. (Let two kids hold the signs you made, one on either side of you.) Life or Death. It seems like an easy decision, doesn’t it?  life-and-death

Point to which one you would choose. (Let kids point to “LIFE.”) That was easy, but sometimes it’s not such an easy choice to follow God. If some of your friends are using God’s name in a careless way, or if they think that going to church is silly, it may be hard to tell them that Jesus is the most important thing in your life and you want to do what he wants you to. If all of your friends are going to see a movie that you know Jesus wouldn’t want you to see, it may be hard to tell them why you aren’t going with them. If your friends want you to join them in teasing another kid in your class, it might be hard to stand up to them and tell them to stop it. Following Jesus is not always easy.

The decision to follow Jesus is the most important choice you will make in your whole life. Even though it may be hard at times to be a Christian, it is always worth it. And Jesus has promised to be with us all the time and to help us. I hope all of you will choose to follow Jesus. He will give you life and all of the blessings that come with it.

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, help me to make the best and wisest decision; help me to follow you—always.

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