CrossKids Devo | Precious Pearl
Activity – How RU Doing
Draw a line on a sheet of paper. Place a 1 on the left end of the line, a 10 on the right, and a 5 in the middle. As kids arrive, ask them to pencil in their initials on the line.
Say: If your day was so awful you wish you'd slept through it, place your initials by the 1. If it was a great day and you wish you could repeat, put your initials by the 10. Place your initials anywhere on the line that shows how you feel today.
Junk drawer stuff (such as old keys, buttons, batteries)
Empty out the junk drawer and invite children to each take an object they especially like. Tell children they'll give the items back though!
Say: Look carefully at the item you chose. Think about how you might use it and why it's worth more than the items you didn't take. (pause) After a few moments Say: In the next three minutes, trade your item for something even better. Maybe you've got a button--hugely helpful if one pops off your shirt as you're about to give a report at school. But someone else has a battery, which you could use to power up a small transmitter to call the coast guard if your ship is about to sink. So see if you can trade your button for the battery. Try hard to make someone else trade. Go! After three minutes Ask: Anyone who made a trade to explain why what he or she got was better than what was traded. Identify the item that was most traded.
Ask: Kids to tell what was said to make them trade.
Collect the items and return them to the drawer. Say: One thing that makes an item especially desirable and valuable is if the item is rare. Today we'll explore a story Jesus told about an item that was so valuable that a man went home and sold everything he owned to come up with enough money to buy it!
Bible Time – Precious Pearl – Matthew 13:45, 46 This is a simple story--and a richer one when you have some background. In Jesus' day, pearls were far more expensive than they are today. There were no pearl farms or cultured pearls; each pearl had to be found in nature and imported.
The Romans were especially fond of pearls, and a large, perfect pearl was considered a vast treasure. The Roman historian Suetonius reported that General Vitellius financed a Roman military campaign by selling just one of his mother's pearl earrings!
So when Jesus painted the word picture of a merchant sorting among pearls and finding one that's superior--a perfect pearl--his audience understood the merchant's excitement and perhaps the merchant's willingness to give up everything to own the treasure.
Today you'll help your children discover that meaning behind Jesus' story, that there is something worth their time, devotion, possessions. That's far more valuable than anything else.
Jesus is worth everything!
Give each child a dull penny, but keep the shiny ones in your pocket. Say: In a few moments I'll be telling you about a merchant who bought a pearl. Before I do, though, you need to become pearl merchants yourselves. You need to learn how to tell a regular pearl from a good pearl, and a good pearl from a great pearl. We'll practice on the pennies I've given you. Ask children to examine their pennies. Say: Five things make a great pearl. Look at your pennies to see how they stack up in each category.
Category 1 is SHAPE. In nature, very few pearls come out of an oyster round. They're lopsided. The more round a pearl, the better. Look at your penny. Is it round? If so, you've got the start of a top-notch pearl!
Category 2 is SIZE. In pearls, the bigger, the better--if the pearl scores well in other categories. I'm assuming all your pennies are the same size, but check with your neighbor. If yours is larger than average, that's a good thing!
Category 3 is COLOR. Pearls come in many colors, with pure white being the most valued. Look at your pennies. Is your penny shiny and bright, or dull? If it's bright, your "pearl" is worth more. With pearls, the brighter, the better.
Category 4 is LUSTER. Oysters secrete calcium-carbonate crystals to cover specks of dirt or other irritants. That's what makes a pearl. If there are lots of layers of crystals and they're worn smooth, that's luster. Does your penny reflect the light well? Is it smooth, or worn out and pitted?
Category 5 is called ORIENT. If you can look at a pearl and it almost seems to glow from the inside, it has "orient." It's a matter of light refracting from the various layers. Does your penny glow? I'm guessing not--but maybe it does.
Hold up your pennies. If they were pearls, they'd be worth different amounts because of the things I've mentioned. Now imagine you made your living buying and selling pearls. You'd get very good at telling one pearl from another and knowing which one was worth the most.
Jesus' story is about a pearl merchant. He probably looked through handfuls of pearls, looking for those that would get the best price. And then, one day, he spotted this. Hold up a bright new penny. Say: He knew he had something special. Here's what Jesus said he did.
Read: Matthew 13:45, 46 Then discuss:
Why do you think the merchant was eager to get the perfect pearl?
What do you think the pearl stands for in this story?
Where do we fit into the story?
Say: We're like the pearl merchant. We give our lives to a lot of things-- but only one is perfect and that's Jesus. We can give him our old, wornout lives and he gives us new life. New life that lasts forever!
Ask children if they want to trade their dull, less-than-perfect pennies for the shiny ones you have. Trade, and let them keep the shiny ones.
Say: That's what we can do with our lives: give them to Jesus and get shiny, new lives. Let's give ourselves to Jesus because Jesus is worth everything! Pray