29. Sin and making choices
Props: rat trap with cheese, toy rat, and long wooden spoon or similar.
I wonder if any of you children have ever had a rat in the house? We have had rats in the ceiling several times. We know that they are ‘fruit rats’. (These are exactly the same as any other rat, but they sound more classy!) Well, when this happens I get out our rat trap [take out of bag], and put some cheese in it. Now, I have to be very careful about setting the trap, else you might learn some new words! [Set trap and place it out reach of little hands, perhaps with a warning.]
Now, the next thing we need is a rat. Did anyone bring one to church? Well, it’s lucky one of us came prepared. [Take toy rat out of bag.] I want you to meet Roger, the giant were-rat. Now you’ll notice that Roger is quite interested in the cheese. He’s thinking: ‘I like cheese. I really like the look of that cheese.’ He’s being tempted by this lovely cheese. It looks really good to Roger, but we know that it is a bad idea for him to try to eat it.
I wonder if any of you have been tempted to do something which you know in your heart is wrong ... . [Children share, or ] For example, you might be going past Farmer Brown’s orchard, and you see this lovely apple on the tree, and you think: ‘I know that’s Farmer Brown’s apple, but I’m sure he wouldn’t miss it, and besides, no-one is looking ... .’ You don’t need to be ashamed about being tempted. We know that even Jesus was tempted. It is what you do with the temptation that matters. You have a choice.
You may choose to do the wrong thing. That is a bad choice. The Bible says: the wages of sin is death. That would certainly be true for Roger if he tried to eat the cheese.
But then, you can choose to do the right thing. God gives us his Holy Spirit to help us make right decisions and do the right thing. So I want you to remember, when you are tempted, say: ‘I choose to do the right thing.’
Now, to finish, hands up all those who want to see Roger try for the cheese ... . I’m shocked! Poor Roger! Don’t you have any feelings? Hands up anyone who does NOT want to see Roger try for the cheese. [Choose one.] Well, as a reward, you can set off the trap. Hold onto this long spoon, and don’t put your hands near the trap. Just touch the cheese. [Trap goes off with a clatter, roll over backwards in shock!] Remember, when you are tempted, say: ‘I choose to do the right thing.’