You are never too young or too old, the reward is the same.
Eternal Life, Fairness, Salvation, Serving
Box of paper clips
3 identical prizes (e.g. candy bars)
Approximately 10 minutes
Before class, link paper clips together to form three chains. One chain using about 40 paper clips, another using about 20 and a third using about 5.
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
During the class, you will ask volunteers to help you with a boring project, and tell them that they will get a reward for their efforts. While the volunteers are working, the rest of the class can look up and read Matthew 20: 1-16. Each volunteer will get a chain of linked paper clips. After the first volunteer is about half way finished unlinking the longest chain of paper clips, a second volunteer will help you with the middle-sized chain. When both are almost finished, you will ask a third volunteer to unlink the short chain of paper clips, each time offering the same reward. Most likely grumbling will occur from the first and second volunteer, which is part of the plan.
WHAT YOU WILL SAY:
I would like someone to help me with a very boring project. I have a bunch of paper clips, accidentally linked together. They are of no use to me this way. If someone will help unlink these clips, when finished I will reward you with this great prize. (Show candy and let them begin. Wait until the first child is about half way finished.) I have another bunch of paper clips all linked together, would someone else like to help me with these? I will reward you with the same prize. (Wait until the first two are almost finished) I still have one more small bunch of paper clips liked together, would someone else like to help me with these, for the same prize? (When all are finished, give each their rewards, and ask the following questions.)
1. How did you feel when I first offered you a great reward to help me?
2. How did you feel when the next person got the same reward for doing less work?
3. (To volunteer number 3) How did you feel when you got the smallest chain of paper clips?
4. Everyone else, do you think what I did was fair?
I know it does not seem fair, that someone who only did a little work got the same reward as someone else who did much more. Do you know Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is similar? You see some people receive Jesus when they are very young. They have a whole lifetime to work for God, by doing things like helping others, praying, or by teaching. Some people do not receive Jesus until they are very old. They may only have a short time to serve Him. Receiving Jesus early in life is like when (name of first volunteer) volunteered to help. She/He had a long time to serve. Receiving Jesus later in life is like when (names of second and third volunteers) volunteered to help. They were still able to serve the Lord, but not for as long. The reward is the same for everyone who receives Christ, no matter how old they are when they do. That reward of course is everlasting life with Jesus in heaven. So remember, working hard and serving Jesus is a privilege and a joy that we can have as Christians, because we know that our reward is coming.