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January 2014

Blessed Are…

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

From “Saving the Ants” (Download book at left!)

Scripture Reference: Matt. 5:3-12 “”God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.”

Preparation: Bring a ball or inflatable globe and a whistle.  Inflatable_Globe_Sm

How many of you play ball games at school? Would you like to play now? (Choose a few volunteers to play.) This is a different kind of game with a surprise at the end. The object of the game is to get the ball for yourself. Don’t play too rough; treat each other gently. When you hear me blow the whistle, you have to freeze. (Begin game; blow whistle before it becomes too rough.) Okay, would you like to know who won? (Take the ball and give it to a child who has been quietly watching the fray.) This meek one sitting here quietly gets the ball. That’s a strange sort of game, isn’t it?

This is a little bit like what Jesus talked about in the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus said, “God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them. . . . God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them. . . . God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matt. 5: 3, 5, 7 NLT).

The world says just the opposite. Here are some things you might hear on television or at school. You may even hear this kind of talk from other kids or even from some grownups: “It’s better to be rich and proud, so that you can take whatever you want. It’s better to be bold and pushy; that way you can conquer the earth. If you want to win, you can’t worry about hurting other people.”

Those aren’t the sorts of things that Jesus taught, are they?

This ball is sort of like the earth and as far back as we know, there have been people fighting over the earth. Now, it may look like they own the earth for a while, but in reality the creator who made the earth is in control. And Jesus says that the meek ones who look to God will inherit the earth.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever win at ball games or shouldn’t try your best. It does mean that we should put God first in our lives and think of others before ourselves. It means that we should remember how much we need God in our lives. The more we understand and live the words of Jesus, the more we know that the truth is just the opposite of what the world says. The truth is in the words of Jesus, “God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them” (Matt. 5:5 NLT).

Prayer:  Dear Lord of heaven and earth, help us to remember not to grab things for ourselves. Help us to wait for the gifts that you give.


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