Over the years, I occasionally preach a sermon on Sunday morning just for kids. Actually, I am being tricky, because even though the vocabulary and the imagery is very kid friendly, these sermons have often snuck up and grabbed the hearts of the adults too. Let me give you a sample of what I said last Sunday. Feel free to read it to your kids (but be careful, some of it may sneak up on you!).
Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time at the playground. We both enjoyed sliding down slides. When we were kids, the slides were often long and straight (and very hot in the summertime!). Once in a while, we got to go down curvy slide, or snake slides, as we called them. As we got older, sometimes we would also climb back up the slides. Which do you think was easier, for us to slide down the slides or climb up the slides?
Gravity is the force that pulls us down to the ground. Because of gravity, it is easier to slide down than to climb up slides. Sin is like gravity in your heart. Because you have sin on the inside, you find yourself being pulled down into badness. That badness finds ways to come up onto your face and out of your mouth.
Imagine that you are just about to come inside after playing outside on a hot, hot day. You had a really good time playing with your friends. But now you are hot, sweaty, hungry, and thirsty, plus at the end of your time outside, your friends changed the game into one that you didn’t like. What do you think will come out of your mouth first thing as you walk in the door? Do you think you will have thankful words because of your mostly fun time outside, or do you think you will have whiny words said in whiny ways?
What is whining? Whining is a certain kind of talking and making noises. It is like complaining and being grumpy. Whining words are usually drawn out, said at a higher pitch, and they sound like the person saying them is in pain.
When do people whine? People whine when they are hungry, thirsty, hot, bored, when something doesn’t go their way, and when they don’t like what is being served for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or even snack). People whine when they are tired, when something seems unfair, when their brother or sister messes with their stuff, or when Mom or Dad asks them to do a chore, or homework, or any other schoolwork, or any other thing that they’d rather not do.
What does God think of whining? He does not like it at all. Philippians 2:14-15 say, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Since God is in control of everything, that means that God causes or allows every single situation when people are tempted to whine. So when you whine and say, “It is too hot outside!” you must remember who made it so hot. It is God. When you whine and say, “My parents want me to eat that––Yuck!” you must remember who gave you your parents. It is God. When you whine and say, “I don’t want to do that chore” you must remember that it is God who made your parents in charge of your house, including who needs to do the jobs in the house.
Every time you whine, you are actually talking badly about God. God is listening.
When you experience something that God did, like when he sends the rain, you should be thankful. You should say thank you to God for watering the grass and the pretty flowers. You should say thank you to God for giving water to the farmers for their crops to grow. You should say thank you to God for giving refreshing water to all of the animals living in the woods. Being thankful is like we are saying, “Hooray for God!” God hears you being thankful, and he likes it.
But when we whine about the rain, God hears that too. It is like we are saying, “Boo God!” Whining is saying that God does bad things to you and doesn’t care about you. God doesn’t like whining at all.
One famous example of whining in the Bible is Israel whining in the wilderness. I say that it is one example, but really it happened over and over again. These stories happened right after God rescued his people Israel from being slaves in Egypt. Do you remember the 10 plagues that God sent to show his power over Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt? Do you remember when Moses lead the people to freedom through the Red Sea that God made as dry as a dirt road? That was so wonderful for Israel! I’m sure many of the people were saying, “Yeah God!” But very soon after they walked through the dry path with walls of water on both sides of them, they began to whine.
Almost 1,500 years after these examples of whining happened, Paul wrote a letter to a church and reminded them of these Bible stories. He said, “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Cor. 10:9-11).
In one of the examples that Paul mentioned, the people of Israel grumbled and complained and God literally sent fiery serpents (venomous snakes!) to bite them. Check it out in Numbers 21:4-9. Some of the whiners and complainers died because of these snake bites. God really doesn’t like it when we whine.
But in that same story God was very patient and kind. He instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent on a pole. Moses lifted it up high and whoever looked upon it got well from their snake bites.
In John 3, Jesus also reminded his hearers about that same story. Jesus used it as a picture of when he would be dying on the cross. Just like the people who knew they would die could look at the bronze serpent and live, so also people today who know that they are dying because of their sins can look to Jesus Christ by faith and live. You can’t work hard enough to make up for sins like whining. You have to admit your sins and turn away and look to Jesus for mercy and grace. He will give it to you. Then you can be clean on the inside and say, “Yeah God!
If you want to listen to the whole kids’ sermon, you can find it at www.faithbiblechurch.us
By John Crotts