Third Sunday in Lent
From “Saving the Ants” (Download book at left!)Â
Scripture Reference:Â Rom. 5:8
I want you to think about your friends this morning. Can you think of a lot of friends? Who are some of your friends? (Allow children to give a few names.) What is the opposite of a friend? (Let children respond.) An enemy is the opposite of a friend. I hope none of you have enemies at such a young age, but sometimes it seems like certain people are just hard to get along with. We may try really hard to be nice to them, but maybe nothing works and we might start to see them as an enemy.
Do you think God has any enemies? I’m sure God doesn’t want anyone to be his enemy, but when people turn their backs on God and refuse to listen to him or obey him, they become, by their own choice, enemies of God. That’s a very sad thing, isn’t it?
Now, imagine for a minute that you’re all in a jungle. Pretend you’re on a field trip with your class. You’re hiking along next to someone who has been mean to you the whole trip. This person has been pulling your hair, dropping bugs down your shirt, and saying mean things about you, and you’ve just about had enough. This person has become an enemy. Suddenly, this mean person steps into a pit of quicksand! At first he doesn’t want any help. “Get away from me,” he sneers, “I can get out by myself.” But you know he can’t, and you’ve got a sturdy rope with you, just like the one I have here. What do you think you would do? Would you save this enemy? It might be tempting to drop a few bugs on this person’s head while he’s stuck there. You might feel like saying, “Serves you right, you big meanie!” and then let him sink.
There’s a Bible verse in Romans, chapter 5, that says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (or enemies of God)” (v. 8 NLT; parentheses by author). God didn’t wait until we were his friends to save us; he saved us while we thought of him as an enemy. That takes a lot of love, doesn’t it?
We’re all sinners. We all do things that we shouldn’t do. In a way, we’re all like that meanie, stuck in the quicksand. But even before we say, “Please, help me,” God has already thrown us the rope and pulled us out. (As you speak, you can throw one end of the rope out, or do the action of throwing a rope.) God loves all of us and he sent Jesus to save us.
Prayer: Â Dear Lord, thank you for saving us. Help us to be a friend of Jesus and help us to be a friend to those around us.