Picking the Right Size Pumpkin
When you pick out a pumpkin for carving you want one that’s just right—the right size, the right color, the right shape. (At this point you have not begun to carve the pumpkin. It just sitting on your table or you can hold it in your hands while you talk about.) It reminds me of when God came into the world and picked everyone of us to be His own. We’ve all been hand-picked by God.
Letting the Light Shine
Tonight this pumpkin is going to represent a person—maybe even us. This pumpkin has no life in it the way it is right now. It’s been cut off the vine, so it is no longer getting water and minerals and vitamins through its stem. This reminds me of people without God. If you don’t have Jesus in your heart you don’t really have life on the inside of you. Oh, you may look good on the outside. You may even have a smile on your face. (Draw a mouth on the front of the pumpkin with a black marker. You will cut it out later.) But it’s just a fake smile.
Sometimes people who are Christians can also have a fake smile too, because if they aren’t letting Jesus lead them and guide them every day, they aren’t letting Jesus shine through them. You can’t really have a true smile unless you let Jesus rule your heart.
We’re a lot like this pumpkin. (Pick up the knife and begin cutting the top off so you can begin cleaning it out.) When we let Jesus into our hearts to be the Lord of our lives, he takes us at our word. We say, “Jesus come in and be the boss of my life,” and He says, “Alright, I will!” But it can hurt. He requires obedience. It can hurt when you let Christ into your heart because you are not your own anymore. You are His and He wants to shine through you. So you have to allow Him to clean you up. (Begin scooping out the fibers inside the pumpkin making a pile of the remains near it.)We have to let Him begin the process of ruling our lives like a King rules a country.
Cleaning Us on the Inside
As soon as Doctor Jesus gets permission to come into our lives He begins the process of cleaning us up on the inside. There are attitudes towards others that aren’t right—teachers, cops, kids you don’t like. We have to obey the Ten Commandments, and obey our parents, and not lie, steal, or cheat. (Continue digging out the stuff in the pumpkin. Continue talking about the types of changes God wants to make in our lives as long as it takes you to clean out the pumpkin.) I’m digging really hard here because the closer you walk to God the harder He digs in your life. Things I used to get away with, I can’t get away with them anymore because I want to walk closer to God. I want His light to shine through me. Jesus says, “I want it out. I want it all out.”
This is a lifetime process. When you get older you’ll be tempted with things that you aren’t tempted with now. You’ll have to ask yourself, “Would this be pleasing to Jesus or wouldn’t it?”
If Jesus really picked you out of the patch, you don’t get to decide what sins you want to keep. You have to look in the Bible where it says take care of your bodies and don’t let anything happen to them that wouldn’t be pleasing to Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, and if you invite me into your life, you are going to shine as well.”
Once you let Jesus dig in your heart and get all the garbage out He says if you want a genuinely real smile on your face (carve the smile on the pumpkin.) We have been bought with a price, the price of Jesus’ blood. He picked us out of the patch and He says He wants us to be holy like he is holy. What’s that mean? (Allow for response.) Remember this: A HOLY LIFE IS A HAPPY LIFE! As you get older you’ll begin to recognize there are people who are smiling on the outside, but they are hurting on the inside. They may look like they’re having fun, but they’re not. Inside they feel sad, guilty, ashamed, angry. Their smile is phony and fake. Asking Jesus to be the Lord of your life, then really letting him do it, is the only way to have a real smile on your face. (Begin carving the eyes of the pumpkin.)
When you let Him take the junk out (place the candle on the inside and light the wick.) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world and in me there is no darkness.” (Sing the children’s song “This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine.” Sing more slowly and more worshipful. You should be finished with the pumpkin by now with the candle burning on the inside.
I want to be like Jesus.. I’ve tried things in my life that weren’t right, and the “didn’t hold a candle to Jesus.” Pardon the pun! I want a real smile on my face. When Jesus is inside of you and the junk is gone, other people can see the light and they are drawn to the light. They are drawn to Jesus in you. Just like in this room right now. Because the room is dark, and the only light in here is coming out of this pumpkin, your eyes are drawn to the light in the pumpkin.
You’re like this pumpkin. You’ve got the light of Jesus on the inside of you. If you let Him work on your life the light of Jesus will shine through you and change the lives of other people around you. (Begin to play appropriate worship music in the background.)
Tonight we’re going to give each of you a small pumpkin. You aren’t going to carve it. You are just going to hold it in your hands and you’re going to say, “God, this is my heart. I want to give it to you. I want you to clean out all the ugly stuff on the inside and put your light in me. I want your light to shine through me to others.”
After you get your pumpkin, you are to find a place in this room away from your friends. You want to be alone with God. We’re just going to sit quietly for several minutes. Don’t talk to anyone else or bother anyone else. Just get alone with God so He can begin speaking to your heart and showing you what needs to be taken out of your heart.
He’s going to begin talking to you tonight and He’ll say things like, “This has got to go, and that has to stop. No more reading these kinds of books or watching these kinds of TV shows. No more treating other people like this or that. No more of that kind of language.”
(When you’re done, allow the children to come up to the microphone one at a time and share what God showed them and said to them. Allow the children to take the small pumpkins home as a prayer reminder.)