Finding one’s identity, purpose, and meaning in life are common struggles that every youth faces. They are seeking an answer to the question, “Why am I here?” In their search for purpose, they may try to find fulfillment in a variety of things, some good, some bad. But our purpose cannot be found in things. Our identity is found by filling the emptiness in our lives with Christ. When God’s Hand is at work in our lives, only then will we find true meaning and purpose. Gloves are a great object lesson to remind youth of this spiritual truth and a simplified version of this lesson makes a great Children’s Sermon.
Collect a variety of gloves. Here are some of the possible gloves you could choose from:
- baseball glove
- welder’s glove
- leather gloves
- Winter gloves or mittens
- boxing gloves
- work gloves
- Surgical gloves
- Food preparation gloves
- Kitchen gloves
- Gardening Gloves
- Fingerless Gloves
- White Gloves
- Cycling Gloves
- Fur gloves
- Sequined gloves
- Goal Keeper’s Gloves
- Catcher’s Glove
- Golf Glove
- Driving Gloves
- Scuba Gloves
- Ski Gloves
- Washing Mitt
- Wheelchair Gloves
You might also have on hand a variety of items to fill the gloves with. Here are some possibilities: marbles, golf balls, M&Ms, skittles, coins, sand, water, salt, beans, paper clips, sticks, straws, pencils, ice, jello, baby powder, etc. The possibilities are endless. These can be symbolic or simply for fun. Marbles could represent gems, golf balls can represent sports, paper clips – work, M&M’s sweets or desires, coins – wealth, aspirin or beer – drugs, condoms – sex.
You can also add a wacky game to this object lesson by planning to divide the youth into teams and providing a rubber glove for each team.
- Display the gloves in a way that all the youth can see them.
- Have the items to fill the gloves readily available but hidden from sight. Have them hidden in such a way that you only need to reveal one at a time. Suspense and curiosity are great tools for teaching as the youth will be trying to guess what you will fill the gloves with next.
Wacky Game – Optional
- Divide the youth into teams and give each team a rubber kitchen glove.
- The youth must select one team member to put the rubber glove on over his (or her) head and pull it down over their nose and inflate it using air from his nose. Once the glove is filled with air so that it is inflated and stands up on top of the youth’s head, they must run to you while crowing like a rooster.
- It is not only hilarious, but it is also fun for the youth. If you want to make it last a little longer, have it as a relay race between the teams of youth.
What to Do
- Begin by showing the youth the various other types of gloves, and then ask the youth to identify the various types of gloves, the purpose for each, and who might use each of them?
- Explain that the empty gloves are like the lives of youth. Both youth and adults try to fill the emptiness in their lives with different things.
- Demonstrate by filling the gloves with various objects. As you go through each collection of items, ask the youth, “Is this what the glove is intended to be used for?”
- After you go through the items, ask the youth what the emptiness in the glove is supposed to be filled with? Of course the answer is someone’s hand.
- Ask the youth, what can the glove do by itself? Of course the answer is nothing.
Take It to the Next Level
Make it Spiritual
(Note you might share some of the things you tried to fill your life with before you accepted Christ as you share the following information: Every person tries to fill their glove (or life) with different things: like money, sports, drugs, sex, work, food, money, friends, family, or even church to find meaning. While some things are obviously bad, others aren’t necessarily bad things, but simply not what the glove (life) was created for. In fact some of the things are good in the right context, but become bad when they become the primary goal for our existence.
Explain that those things don’t allow the glove to be used the way it was created to be used.
You can use the example of alcohol as something that may seem fulfilling for a while, but in the end leaves you even emptier than before. (You can fill up a specially prepared rubber glove that has been slit at the finger tips so that all the liquid drains out.)
At the very end of your examples, put your hand in the glove, and show how it is now useful and can fulfill its intended purpose. Explain that a glove can do all sorts of things – pick up a book, wave good-bye, scratch my head, play golf, work, pat someone on the back. By itself, it can do nothing. But if I put my hand in the glove… [put it on]… this glove can do almost anything I want.
Different gloves are created with a different intended purpose. But a glove can do nothing once the hand as been removed. It is the same with our lives, in an of ourselves we can do nothing of lasting significance, but with God in us all things become possible.
Blaise Pascal said that we have all been created with a God-shaped vacuum that only he can fill. We will only find true meaning and purpose when we let the hand of God work in our lives to accomplish his will here on earth.
Make it Personal
What are some of the purposes that God has for Christians?
Make it Practical
- The easiest way to find that purpose, is to yield to God. What is an area of your life that God has been speaking to you about yielding to him?
- Ask God to use you this week in a way that glorifies him and gives you a clearer understanding of his purpose for your life.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
2 Corinthians 3:5
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”
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.
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