This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.
- Philippians 3:12-14
- A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
- One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
- Several smaller balls of varying sizes
- Permanent marker
- Index cards (one for each ball)
- Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use. The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
- Tape these cards onto different balls. The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Me, too! It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
- “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)” (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball. Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room. Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
- “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.” (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
- “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
- “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.” (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
- “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
- “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!” (Keep going around this person.)
- “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.” (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
- “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
- “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
- “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless. It doesn’t satisfy.”
- “The SON won’t let us forget Him. We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.” (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
- “This keeps happening over and over and over again. It’s very frustrating!” (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
- “But there is good news! The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
- “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
- “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON. Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
- “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
- “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
- “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth). (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)