This object lesson teaches about how the Body of Christ is connected and emphasizes how God uses our imperfect parts and our struggles to join us to others. It uses the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle.
- Computer, LCD Projector and screen
- PowerPoint presentation, “Jigsaw Body (PowerPoint).” See “Lesson and Material Downloads Page” at https://teachthem.wordpress.com/
· Set up projector and screen.
· Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
· “The Body of Christ is a giant jumble of all kinds of different people. Black people, white people, yellow people, tan people…. fat people, skinny people, funny people, serious people, musical people, logical people, poor people, rich people…”
· “And then there are the many different traditions and styles of worship and ways of teaching and ways of expressing our gifts. What are some of the ways you have seen people worship God?” (Listen to responses, and be careful not to discount the different expressions of worship. They might not be familiar to us, but that doesn’t always mean that they aren’t valid.)
· “How many of you know that God loves variety?” (Model that you are looking for a show of hands, then show the first slide.)
· “Here’s a collage of pictures of people worshipping and honoring God in many different ways. I think He enjoys all of these different ways, because having us all worship in just one way would be pretty boring.” (Show first slide.)
· “But you know, besides the fact that all Christians call Jesus Christ Lord and Savior, there is at least one other thing that we all have in common: we all have struggles.”
· “No Christian, no matter how spiritual they are or how long they have been a Christian, is ever completely free from struggles.”
· “We can’t graduate from the ‘school of hard knocks.’ They keep coming all throughout our lives.”
· “Even Saint Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, told us about having what he called a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ We don’t know exactly what it was. Some think it was a problem with his eyes; others think it was some type of temptation.”
· “But whatever it was, God wouldn’t take it away even though Paul prayed and asked Him to three different times.”
· “Why do you think God lets us struggle sometimes?” (Listen for responses. Then add the following.)
· “Those are good responses. In addition to what you’ve said, I can think of three good reasons God leaves us with our struggles.
o They keep us in communication with Him. While we are struggling, we pray more and with more intensity. If it weren’t for our difficult times, God might never hear from some of us!
o They are a greenhouse for spiritual growth. Do you know what a greenhouse is? (Listen for responses, and add if necessary: a greenhouse is a house made of glass or plastic that lets sunlight in and keeps it in to help plants grow better in a warm, tropical environment.) When we submit our difficult areas to God, we learn spiritual lessons that we couldn’t learn if everything was easy.
o They connect us to each other. When we have needs, we reach out to others for help. Some of us wait until we are really hurting before we swallow our pride and admit that we can’t do it alone, and that might be the whole point of why God allows our suffering to continue so long.”
· “I think the Body of Christ is really like a giant jigsaw puzzle.” (Show next slide.)
· “Each of us has jagged parts and unfinished parts that God is still working on to make us look more like Him.”
· “All of us have places in which we need to receive from others and places where we can give where others are in need.”
· “None of us is perfect, and that’s by God’s design. God has a purpose for our imperfection.”
· “Perfect people would be like puzzle pieces with smooth edges.” (Show next slide.)
· “They wouldn’t need anyone else, and they would have no reason to want to help their brothers and sisters in Christ (since none of us would have any needs, either).”
· “Everyone would live independent lives without any needs.”
· “There would be nothing to force them to reach out to their neighbor or to the Church.”
· “Over time, the Church would stop looking like an interdependent, connected Body of Christ.”
· “Rather than being jointed together like a jigsaw puzzle, we would just be jumbled – overlapping but not connecting.” (Show next slide.)
· “What do you notice is harder to see in this picture?” (Listen for “the cross.”)
· “Right! When we don’t join together as the Body of Christ, it’s hard to see Christ in us.”
· “Our jagged edges and lack of ability to do everything for ourselves force us to get help from one another.”
· “Our struggles and our needs are God’s way of forcing us to reach out and to receive from others. They bond the Body together.”
· “I think we should give God praise for every struggle we have and everything that isn’t perfect about us.”
· “God left us with those struggles and those imperfections, because they fit perfectly with someone else that God has brought or will bring into our lives – like your parents or your friends or your teacher or someone else that you might not have even thought about yet.”
· “Also, we should be careful not to limit these connections to just members of the Body of Christ.”
· “God has a plan to draw more and more people to Him, and He wants those that He brings to us to have some place to connect with us.”
· “Our struggles and our pains and our imperfect parts are the places where He connects us with them.” (Show final slide.)
· “Putting our “perfect” sides out for the world to see creates pressure for us to live a ‘perfect lives,’ but nobody is perfect except for Jesus.”
· “Trying to look like we are perfect is just a lie to make us feel good about ourselves, and when people find out about our jagged edges, they realize that we are just pretending to be perfect.”
· “Smooth edges don’t make people want to be Christians. They push them away.”
· “They make people who aren’t Christians think that they have to clean up their lives and become perfect before becoming a Christian.”
· “So, if we want to win the world to Christ, we’ve got to stop polishing our edges and let the world see us as we really are.”