The Best

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone." (1 Corinthians 12:4)

Share with the children the story that follows. (Note: You may change the story to three girls or a combination of boys and girls, if you wish.)

Three neighborhood boys tried to be the best at everything. Jackson, Corey, and Tom were longtime friends. They rode bikes together, played on the same little league team, and attended the same church.

Their parents would say, "Looking for Tom? He is with Corey and Jackson." Or "If you find Jackson, then you will find Corey and Tom."

One day something happened. It might have been the day Jackson hit a home run and won the championship game. It might have been the day Corey achieved first place in the school spelling bee. It might have been the day Tom cleaned the newborn calf's stall all by himself. No one, not even their parents, can recall when or why the friends separated.

Ask the children why they think that Jackson, Corey, and Tom did not remain best friends. (Possible answers include jealousy, competitiveness, limited time, and different interests.)

Read I Corinthians 12:4 to the children. Remind the children that we all have different abilities. These different abilities help us accomplish a common good. A common good is beneficial or good for everyone. Working for a common good requires the efficient stewardship of our time and talents.

Jackson, Tom, and Corey had different abilities or gifts. Jackson hit the ball well. Corey was a great speller. Tom cared for the farm animals well. If they had shared their gifts with one another, their friendships could have been the best. Instead, Jackson wanted only to play baseball. Every time he asked Corey to play ball, Corey was writing an article for the school newspaper. Whenever Tom invited Jackson to spend time in the barn, Jackson would wait outside the barn doors and practice throwing a baseball in the air and catching it. Each one wanted to be the best at something. By working hard at being the best ball player, the best writer, or the best animal caretaker, each one forgot to take the time to be a best friend.

Encourage the children to make a plan to share their gifts and abilities with their family and friends.

Prayer

Lord, today I pray for my friends. Thank you for the gifts and the abilities that you have given me. I pray that I will be best at loving you. Help me share my abilities with my family and my friends. Alsohelp me to learn more about my family's and my friends' special abilities. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

  • What are the special abilities of your best friends?
  • What can your best friends teach you?
  • What special gifts and abilities has God given to you?
  • How can you use these abilities for the common good of your family and your friends?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in 2005.

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