Luke 7:36 – 8:3
Lightening Our Load
By Lois Parker Edstrom
Objects needed: Backpack and familiar articles one might need for school or a hiking trip. (Families with school age children usually have backpacks in the home and could be asked to help with providing objects for this lesson. Lesson can also be presented without a backpack if one is not available.)
Do you carry a backpack to school? What do you put in it? Books? Pencils and pens? Paper? Notebook? Lunch? Sometimes, your jacket or sweater? Backpacks can be heavy to carry. (Place items in backpack until it becomes heavy and ask a child to put it on and describe how it feels.)
Hikers also carry backpacks. Let’s list some of the things a hiker might carry in a backpack. Food, extra socks, an extra jacket or shirt, matches, a map, a flashlight, sunscreen, sunglasses. If they plan to stay overnight they would need a sleeping bag, a small stove and perhaps a small tent. Can you think of other things a hiker might need? As you can see, a hiker’s backpack can become heavy too. (Another backpack may be loaded with items as above.)
How would you feel if a friend offered to carry your backpack for you? You might say, “Thanks, what a nice thing to do.”
How would you feel if your backpack was especially heavy and a friend offered to carry it for you? You probably would feel even more grateful. (Backpacks may be shifted to another child to demonstrate the concept if desired.)
Let’s talk about another type of heaviness. In the Bible Jesus teaches us about sin and forgiveness. Sin is anything that keeps us from feeling close to God. Sin is caused by improper choices and can make us feel bad. Sin can feel like a heavy burden.
When we recognize that we have made a bad choice and realize that we need to ask to be forgiven, Jesus is able to remove the bad feelings and the burden of sin from our lives. Being forgiven can feel similar to when a friend removes a heavy backpack from your shoulders and carries the backpack for you. Being forgiven allows us to feel free and grateful. Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (7:50).
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2011, Richard Niell Donovan