23. Marbles: putting God first
Props: Toys, jar and smaller screw-top container with marbles (a couple larger than the rest), empty ice-cream container.
This talk needs to be practised several times!
Hello children. We have a couple of visitors this morning. The first is Teddy – 'Hello boys and girls!', and the other is Noddy – 'Hello children!' We're lucky they've come, because they have brought something to show us. First of all, Teddy has brought us this lovely jar of marbles. Do any of you have any marbles? Yes? We'll talk about these in a moment. Now Noddy, what have you brought? [Noddy 'whispers'.] Well, Noddy is looking rather sad, and now I understand why: Noddy has lost his marbles! Never mind, Noddy, they may turn up shortly.
Now, let's look at Teddy's marbles. See how they shine in the sun! When I was a boy, we used to play marbles. We'd draw a circle on the ground, place some marbles inside, perhaps in the form of a +. Then we'd take turns kneeling outside the circle, and 'firing' this larger 'striker' marble at the others. If you knocked a marble outside, you could keep it. Great fun!
Now I have here a smaller container of marbles with a cap on. Oh, Noddy's getting excited: these are your marbles Noddy? Thank goodness for that! I want to use these marbles to teach us something. [Empty marbles into ice-cream container.] Now this empty jar stands for your day. Let's suppose it is Monday. First you wake up and get out of bed. I'll drop a couple of marbles in here to stand for that. Let's see how you fill up your day.
[Encourage responses ... and gradually fill up jar.] We get dressed ... have a shower ... have breakfast help with the dishes (no?)... go to school/kindy/stay home ... have recess (a pickled onion?!) ... more lessons .. lunch (a curried egg sandwich?!) ... play sports ... come home ... do homework? ... watch tele .. play with the computer ... Mum reads us a story ... we go to bed. There the jar is full, and I can just put the top on. What a full day we have had! But wait! If we love God, shouldn't he be part of our day too? I have this big 'God - marble', and look, there's no way it will fit into our jar. What are we going to do? [One child suggests we use the bigger jar!! We settle on taking out some of the marbles.] Ah, but which marbles? The having a shower marble? the doing the dishes marble? how about the watching TV marble? There, now there is room for the God-marble, and I can get the top on.
But, I want to suggest a better way. [Empty out marbles again.] What if we put the God-marble in first? And then add all the others ... . [Make sure the big marble is central at the bottom of the jar.] Look I'm putting the big marble at the centre. After all, we want God to be first in our lives, and at the centre as well. There, now all the marbles fit in, and we can put the top on too. So if we place God first in our day, and make him central, all the other things fit together perfectly. Let's pray. Lord God, help us to put you first every day, and to be at the centre of our lives. Amen
Off you go now kids, and remember, put God first, and don't lose your marbles!