(borrowed, but adapted)
Once there was a Gardener who planted seeds in His garden (show pumpkin seeds). Each day the Gardener cared for the seeds. He watered them, pulled weeds from around them, and sheltered them from the heat of the sun. The seeds grew into seedlings, which developed into plants, they grew flowers that were pollinated by bees (that’s our bee reference for tonight) and other insects , and then one day, they produced fruit – pumpkins! The pleased Gardener looked out at His garden and said, “It is good!”
One day, the Gardener went out into his field and picked a special pumpkin (place pumpkin on the table – on top of a cookie sheet or tablecloth, etc. with the uncarved side facing the audience). It was a bit dirty from laying in the garden, so he brought it inside and gently wiped it off (wipe off exterior of pumpkin). Now the pumpkin looked clean on the outside, but what about the inside?
The Gardener took a knife and cut open the top of the pumpkin (pretend to cut open the top again and take it off). And what did He find? A bunch of slimy, yucky goo! (show kids the goop).
The Gardener wanted His special pumpkin to be beautiful, so He carefully scraped out all of the goo inside until the pumpkin was as clean inside as it was on the outside! (Remove goo and throw away. Show children the clean interior)
But the Gardener still wasn’t satisfied with the pumpkin. He decided it needed a face! So, He carefully cut out two eyes, a nose, and a big smiling mouth (Turn the carved side of the pumpkin to face the audience. Poke out the eyes, nose and mouth you carved out previously).
Now the Gardener’s special pumpkin looked clean AND happy. But the Gardener still wasn’t satisfied with the pumpkin. So, He put a light inside of it (insert candle and light it). The pumpkin glowed so beautifully! The Gardener’s special project was complete.
When friends and neighbors saw the Gardeners special pumpkin, they marveled at how He took something ordinary from His garden, cleaned it inside and out, put His light inside, and made it something extraordinary!
We are like pumpkins and God is the Gardener. God creates us and cares for us. He “chooses” us from all of the other pumpkins...he picks us from the patch, brings us in and washes all of the dirt off the outside of us. But just like the pumpkin, we have an outside and an inside. The outside is what people see. When they pick a pumpkin...or “pick” people, they examine the outside, but the inside is what God cares about. The inside of the pumpkin is like our soul...our heart. A pumpkin left to itself will soon rot and die.....and so will we.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But our soul will never die, so just like the Gardener cleaned out his pumpkin’s “yucky” stuff....God wants to clean out all of our yucky stuff....our sin, too, so that we can live with Him someday and so that we can bring others to Him. This is what we look like to others and what we are like when are hearts are not changed.....we have all that yucky stuff inside.
The hearts of men are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live Ecclesiastes 9:3.
He sent his Son to die for our sins, to take the punishment we deserved. He is the only one who can change our heart, but we must become open to Him so that He can clean it out. How can we get rid of this icky stuff?"
I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:25b-27).
He removes goopy sin and the seeds of fear, doubt, despair, hate, impurity, and greed. Jesus was willing to take our mess upon himself, so that we might be clean.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Just like the Gardener gave the pumpkin a new face, God makes us a new creation!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
As His new creation, God tells us to share our faith with the world. The world is dark, but as a Christian, we are light. We are HIS light.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
When Jesus lives inside of you, you can glow! You will let your light shine. You will want to be kind and honest. You will want to please God, to help others, and to tell other people about Jesus.
So, when we let God clean out our sin, by believing that Jesus died to pay the punishment that we deserve, repent of our sins, and have our sins washed away, He turns us into new creations that can shine for Him! And when others see our light, then they might want to learn how to have a light of their own.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16