Free Children's Sermons

An Obstacle Course

August 31, 2014

Matthew 16:21-28



Prop: Familiarity with the story which follows.


This is a story about Nate and his big brother, Sam. Sam was a really good runner. He was on the high school track team and had won many awards for running the hurdles. Sometimes, on weekends, Sam would let Nate go with him on his practice runs. Nate would have to run as fast as he could to keep up, but it was worth it. He was very proud of his big brother and was willing to suffer a little just to be with him.


One Sunday afternoon Nate asked Sam if he could run with him when he went out that day. Sam replied, “Sure, but what about homework? I thought you were making a booklet that is due tomorrow. Is it done?” “Well, not all the way done, but I’ve done most of it,” Nate told him. “I know Mom wouldn’t be very happy if you did not have it done by tomorrow,” Sam said. “Let’s go look at it.” What Sam saw was that Nate had not been very truthful.  He put the booklet down and said, “I don’t think you should go with me, Nate. You’ve got a lot of work to do.”


Nate protested, “This is hard work. I’d rather go running than work on this boring old thing. Don’t tell Mom and she won’t know. She won’t be home until 7 o’clock. I can work on it later.” Sam put his hand on his little brother’s shoulder and looked him straight in the eye. “I know you think racing is the most important thing in the world to me, Nate, but there are other things that are more important than racing. I run because it challenges me to get a little better every day. It’s fun to win all those racing awards, but none of those awards are important if I can’t be happy with the kind of person I am.


“When I run the hurdles there are fences every so many feet on the track that I have to jump over while I am running. It is important that I run, jump, and land in a certain way, otherwise I will lose time and not win the race. It takes hours and hours of practice to learn how to do that. If you remember what the coaches taught you and trained you to do, you can jump over the hurdles and win the race.


“We have to practice to learn how to jump hurdles in our lives also, Nate. Sometimes a hurdle is being willing to work hard on something, even if we don’t feel like doing it. Doing your best on this booklet is a hurdle for you right now. It’s tempting not to do it, to run around it instead of doing the hard work. I’m going to go running. When I get back, and you have almost finished the booklet, I’ll help you look it over to decide if you have done your very best work on it. Then, we’ll talk about you going running with me sometime this week.”


I hope you liked this story about jumping hurdles.


Let’s pray: Lord of our lives, help us to learn from the Bible and people who care about us, ways  to live as you would want us to live. Help us not let the hard things we have to do get in the way. We pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.