Free Children's Sermon

Lips and Hearts

August 30, 2015

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Props: Two balloons, one with helium in it (hide it in a bag or box until needed) and one uninflated (blow it up several times beforehand so it will be stretched and easier to blow up later). Cut heart shapes to distribute to the children at the end of the message.

Watch this. (Take out the uninflated balloon, blow it up, close it with a string, and hand it to one of the children to hold.) Now, watch this. (Take the helium-filled balloon out of its hiding place and tie it to the wrist of another child.) Do these balloons look the same to you? (Allow time to discuss their differences.) Why does one balloon float and the other one doesn’t? (Allow time for answers.) The balloon that floats has helium in it, and the other one has only breath in it. What came out of the helium tank is lighter than the outside air, and that makes it float. What came out of my lungs is the same as the outside air. Which balloon is more fun to have? It’s the helium one . . . it floats and does things while the other one just sits there all droopy.

Listen to this story: One day, while Jesus and his disciples were about to eat together, some church people came by and noticed something that shocked them. They asked, “Why are good church people like you starting to eat before you have done all the rituals the people of our faith are supposed to do?” There was a special way they were supposed to wash their hands, food, dishes, and pans, and Jesus and the disciples had not done it.

Jesus must have shaken his head in dismay and taken a deep breath before he said, patiently, “Well, it probably would not have hurt us to do that, but is it really important? You do all those things before you eat and feel so proud of yourselves, but what good does that do you if you go out afterwards and lie, cheat, or steal from your neighbor? What goes past your lips and into your stomach is not as important as the words that come out of your lips and the deeds that come out of your hearts. We all need to pay more attention to the things that really matter and worry less about unimportant things!”

Jesus was right, wasn’t he? Sometimes the only thing we can think about is having the latest toy, eating our favorite ice cream, or going to a great new movie (lift up the breath-filled balloon), but those things are a lot like this droopy balloon: they are not what is really important. Sharing what we have with others, telling the truth, and not hurting or stealing from others is like this helium-filled balloon (point at it). It is what makes life good; it is what makes life fun, not only for ourselves but for others. The other things can be fun too, but they should never get in the way of treating others as God’s children.

(Hand out the hearts you have prepared.) To remind you to make the good things in your heart more important than mean words or selfish actions, fill out one of these hearts today. With the help of your parents, write on it something nice that you are going to do this week for someone else. Put it in a place where you will be reminded to do it.

Let’s pray: Fill our hearts with good deeds and loving thoughts, Lord. Amen.