The following object lesson can be used in a children’s church setting, an elementary chapel, an Awana message, or a Sunday School. It is designed for students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The premise of the message is that we should live our lives as “Thank You Cards” written to God.
How many of you have ever written a thank you note before? How many of you had your parents make you write that thank you note? (Good for them!)
Do you remember what kind of things you were thankful for? Was it crazy socks you got from your birthday party or a ten dollar bill you got from your Great Aunt Wilma for Christmas or a book from your teacher? Did you ever write a thank you note for something special that you did with someone, like go out for pizza or ice skating or to an amusement park?
Does anyone know what you say in a thank you note, besides thank you? Invite responses. Usually, most thank you notes sound like this:
Thank you for taking me camping with your family. I had so much fun! It’s hard for me to decide what my favorite part of the weekend was. It could have been eating s’mores or swimming in the lake or giggling over your dad’s snoring. Wasn’t it funny when that raccoon scared us or when the tent fell on our heads? I laughed so hard. Thanks for taking me. I can’t wait till we go again!
Your friend, Me
So besides just saying thank you, you tell the person why you loved something and what it meant to you. If you got a gift, you may say how you’re going to use it.
Okay, next question. How many of you have ever gotten a thank you note? How did that thank you note make you feel? I don’t know about you, but I love thank you notes! It’s kind of cool to know that someone notices a gift that you got them.
Or maybe, someone says thank you for just being you. It might be something as simple as a note on a napkin that says, “Thank you for making me smile!” If I got that note on a napkin – even if there was ketchup or hot fudge on it or something out of your nose (don’t get any ideas now!), I think I would keep that napkin forever. That thank you napkin would make me happy every time I saw it.
Now let’s turn this talk over to God. What can we be thankful to God for today? Let’s think about all that God has done for us. In Psalm 126:3, it says, “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” Let’s shout out some of those great things He has done. I’ll begin. I thank God for __________, ___________, and _____________. Invite student responses for as long as you can. Let this time be an anthem of thanks. Continue to supply your own thanks also.
As we just heard, God has done great things for us and we can be filled with joy! God has been so good to us. Most of all, He has given us our Savior Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. He has given us incredible life in Him and because of Him. But He has also given us so much more. He’s given us ice cream, tree frogs, patience, and thumbs. Have you ever tried to do anything without your thumbs? Try it today. It’s nearly impossible! He’s given us our legs to run, a painted sky, and the ability to forgive others. Substitute your own random thanks. Don’t you kind of wish we could write Him a thank you note for all He has done? Here’s the thing.
Hold up a card and envelope. Now it’s not the kind of thank you note that gets stuffed in an envelope, licked, stamped, and addressed. It’s not the kind where you even need to take out a pen. It is the kind of thank you note that looks just like you though. And you, and you, and you, and you, and all of us and me.
We can be a thank you note.
Why should we obey God’s word? Why should we do what He says? Why should we love Him? It’s not just to keep us out of trouble. It’s not just because it’s what is best for us. It’s not just because our parents have said so. It’s certainly not so that everyone can see how good we are.
We obey God so that our lives can be a thank you note back to Him. It’s our way of saying thanks. What would our lives look like as thank you notes? If we are saying thanks, can we at the same time be complaining? If we are really saying thanks for all that He has done, will we always want more stuff or will we be content? If we are living lives of thanks, can we keep hurting others, whom He has made?
If we are really thankful for what He has done, how does that make us different? Invite responses. How can we be a thank you note to God this week? In your life, what needs to change? If I am to be a thank you note this week, I’ll be honest with you. I’m going to need to work on _____________.
Think about what you need to work on this week. What sin in your life do you need to get rid of? In the quietness of prayer, let’s go to God and ask for forgiveness. Let’s also ask the Holy Spirit to help us to change us from the inside out.
How cool would it be to bombard heaven with our thank you notes this week; the thank you notes of us. Let’s do just that! I think I’m already seeing God smile now. Ready. Set. Go!
The idea of Christ followers living lives as “Thank You Notes” was first generated by Dr. Kara Powell. I loved the illustration so much that I expanded it into this lesson.