Use this creative object lesson as a surprising illustration to kids that God looks at our heart, not our appearances. It can be used on any occasion or as a children’s sermon, but with a reference to tombs, and masks it also serves as a fun lesson for an alternative to Halloween.
Cupcake mix, cotton balls, cupcake cups, Cupcake Tin
- Using a cake mix or any cupcake mix, prepare the batter according to instructions.
- Place the paper cupcake liners in the cupcake tin.
- For about 50% of the cupcakes, place several cotton balls in the middle of the cup to partially fill them.
- Pour the batter into the cups. For those with cotton balls, be sure it seeps into the sides of the cup and covers the cotton balls.
- Bake the cupcakes as per directions.
- Make enough untainted cupcakes for your entire group.
- Decorate the cupcakes containing cotton balls with icing and candly sprinkles etc so they look very enticing. Do not decorate the normal cupcakes in any way i.e. leave them plain.
WARNING: One person who tried this had the batter soak into the cotton balls so that the kids didn’t notice and swallowed one. While they are harmless and will simply pass through the digestive system, to prevent this make sure you fill the bottom of the paper liner full of cotton balls so that you don’t have this problem. An alternative to cotton balls is to slice off the top with a bread knife and then hollow out the center of the cupcake. Put the top back on and frost it for a hollow cupcake? Are some of our pursuits in life a little hollow when we finally get hold of them?
- Pass the cupcakes to the youth or children as a group. They must not eat them until everyone has one. Only allow one cupcake per person.
- Some will choose the fancy ones while others may choose the plain ones.
- When the youth or children begin to eat the cupcakes, some of them are in for a surprise. Beneath the shallow top layer of cupcake there is cotton!
- Wait for their responses.
- After the lesson have some cupcakes available for everyone who got the tainted ones with the cotton balls inside
You can’t always tell how good something is by looking at the outside. Sometimes what seems attractive on the outside hides something far less attractive inside.
While people typically look at the outward appearance, God looks inside – at the heart. It’s difficult to tell what a person is really like simply from their appearance. Some people may be beautiful on the outside, but inside they hide a very mean, selfish, and hateful heart. Some people may seem a little plain or less attractive in appearance, but inside they are loving, gentle, and kind.
Most of us spend lots of time and attention on making ourselves look good. We pay careful attention to the clothes we wear (designer jeans etc), the shoes we wear, our complexion, our hairstyle, etc. Yet, how much time do we spend making sure our heart is right? When our heart is right with God, when our attitudes are Christlike, when we have a loving spirit, then when others get a taste of God in us, they will find Christianity attractive. Christ’s greatest criticism of the pharisees was that they focused on their appearance yet left ugliness in their hearts:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
Christ called the Pharisees hypocrites. The Greek word for hypocrite actually refers to someone who is wearing a mask, who is an actor. Halloween isn’t the only time of the year when people dress up and wear masks. Throughout the year we often show a different personality on the outside than the person we are in reality. Jesus also called the pharisees “whitewashed tombstones.” “Rotting graves with whitewashed tombstones” vividly paints for us a picture of hypocrisy. Cemeteries are actually quite tranquil and beautiful on the surface. There are flowers, statues, and beautiful memorials to those that have died. But beneath the surface there are rotting bodies.
Does your icing match your cupcake?
- How much time do you spend getting ready to leave the house in the morning?
- Do you take time to shower, comb your hair, and spend a little time in front of the mirror to make sure you are presentable to the world?
- Do you spend as much time daily nurturing your inner spirit through Bible Study and prayer as you do on your external appearances?
- Do you sometimes find yourself putting on a facade, a mask, pretending to be more “spiritual” so people will be impressed with you?
It’s not that we should not care about our external appearances. In fact we should be concerned about both our internal and external life that we present to the world. Our lives need to reflect the goodness of God both inwardly and outwardly, in our heart attitudes, and in our actions that everyone sees.
Take a little more time preparing your heart each day to get right with God and reflect his heart. Make sure you spend some time with God so that you reflect the goodness of God inside and out before you ice it for all the world to see?
- Matthew 23:27-28
- Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3: 3-4)
- Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16: 7)
MORE IDEAS? See “Creative Object Lessons”
200 page e-book that explains everything you need to know when planning your very own object lessons. It contains 90 fully developed object lesson ideas and another 200 object lesson starter ideas based on Biblical idioms and Names / Descriptions of God.
Games and Activities in Celebration of common Holidays.
Creative Holiday Ideas has over 300 pages of ideas to help you plan your next New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween or Fall Festival, and Thanksgiving event. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re going to do for all these holidays and how you’re going to do it, this resource is for you.
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