Pastor Jon spread a large blanket on the floor as he invited the kids forward for Pastor’s Pals. By the time they made it down the aisle and gathered around, he had placed a large bucket full of popcorn in the middle of the blanket with an even larger box of popcorn (moving box size) next to it. He then gave one of the boys, Michael, a small plastic shovel, the kind of toy you’d take to the beach, and handed out small bowls to the rest of the children.
“Good morning everyone,” Pastor Jon said. “Who knows what holiday is next week?” “Christmas!” the kids all shouted in unison. “Of course. I thought you might all be aware of that. And I bet a lot of you are hoping to get presents for Christmas.” Heads nodded all around. “Although we all like to receive gifts, today I want to talk to you about the opposite of receiving—giving. Specifically, I want us to think about sharing God’s blessings with others.”
Pointing to the bucket, Pastor Jon said, “Okay Michael, let’s pretend this bucket is your life and each kernel of popcorn represents one of God’s many blessings.” Picking up a handful of popcorn from the bucket, he said “Notice how full of good things your bucket is! God loves to fill our lives with blessings—our families, our friends, our church, our talents, our health…and also material things like our homes, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, our money, our toys and other possessions. But Michael, now I have a very important question for you–what does God want you to do with all of these blessings? Does he want you to store them up and eat this entire bucket of popcorn yourself?” The kids laughed and heads shook sided to side as the Michael answered, “No.” “That’s right,” Pastor said, “God doesn’t want us to keep His blessings to ourselves. He wants us to share them and be generous, just like He has been generous with us.”
“So,” he said to Michael, “let’s share your blessings. When I say ‘go’ I want you to share these blessings—the popcorn in your bucket—with the rest of these children by shoveling popcorn into their bowls as fast as you can.” Michael nodded and smiled…he was anxious to get started. “Get ready…set…go!” The kids cheered as Michael starting shoveling popcorn into their bowls as fast as he could. Popcorn went everywhere, of course (thus the reason for the blanket), but within about 30 seconds his bucket full of “blessings” was almost empty.
With all eyes on Michael, no one noticed the pastor sneak over to the podium to grab a large snow shovel he had hidden there. With Michael’s “blessings” almost all gone, Pastor Jon used the snow shovel to scoop a huge pile of popcorn from the large box of popcorn and refill Michael’s bucket. Then, for good measure, he added as second shovel full so the bucket was completely overflowing with “blessings.”
“Okay Michael,” Pastor said as he took the small plastic shovel back, “great job sharing your blessings. But notice that your bucket is now even more full now than it was before you started giving your blessings away! You see,” he said holding up the two shovels for comparison, “I have a bigger shovel, so no matter how fast you empty your bucket full of blessings I can fill it back up even faster. And you know what…that’s exactly how it is with God. God wants us to share our blessings with others and use them for His glory. And no matter how fast we shovel them out, God has a bigger shovel to shovel blessings back in.”
“So, although it’s wonderful to receive gifts at Christmas, this year make sure you remember that God wants us to share our blessings with others.”