The Object Lesson – A Temporary Fortress
When was the last time you built a sandcastle? Was it when you were a kid? Last summer when you took your grandkids to the beach? Whenever it was, there is something beautiful and childlike about building with sand. Whether you are a master architect carving out intricate details or you depend on prefabricated molds like me, there is pleasure in sitting by the ocean and crafting your fortress.
As you teach, start with some simple sand molds, or even some play buckets will do. You’ll also need enough sand to fill each of the molds and create your visual. I recommend using kinetic sand because it packs better and is less messy (especially if you are doing this indoors). If you don’t want to spend the money on kinetic sand, you can make your own (its what I used in the video) using 2 cups of play sand, 1 cup of corn starch and ½ cup of baby oil.
In a small group or classroom setting you could let students build the castle inside of a kiddie pool or large tote. From the stage, a large baking sheet on a table serves nicely to help keep the sand from making too big of a mess.
As you are talking about building a castle, go ahead and actually build one. Let the people visualize the joy of being at the beach and the temporary nature of your building material. Remind them that when we build sandcastles, we intrinsically know they are temporary. We know that sooner or later high tide will come rolling in and destroy what we have crafted. It’s just a matter of time before we our masterpiece is returned to the ocean.
Because we know this is going to happen, we don’t fight it. We don’t cling to every last grain of sand, or stand and try to fend off the waves. We put in our work, and then we watch the tide roll in. It was always supposed to be temporary anyway. Transition to explaining how everything in this world is fleeting just like the sand castle (see the list of scriptures below for further teaching ideas).
Remind them that sand castles aren’t meant to last, and neither are the things we pursue in this life. This would be a good time to smash the castle, or perhaps poor a large pitcher of water over the top to represent the waves crashing in. Remind them that our hope is in God because He is eternal. His faithfulness endures forever.
The Bible Connection – Life is Temporary
We should learn to live our lives the way we build sand castles. We should put in our work and do our best, but we should live with the knowledge that this all temporary. The Bible repeatedly warns us not store up treasure on earth or put our hope in earthly things because they will rust, fade, and disappoint.
Unfortunately, many people live their lives fighting to protect what they’ve built. They pursue earthly ideas of success and accomplishment, never realizing that one day the tide will roll in and take it all away. Putting your trust in a temporary earthly goal like money, health, success, or fame is like trying to live in a sandcastle; you are setting yourself up for failure.
Scriptures to Study
There are a lot of scriptures that speak about our need to hope in God and store up treasure in heaven. Listed below are just a few scriptures you might use with this object lesson.
You could actually pick almost any passage from Ecclesiastes because this is its main theme. But in this chapter The Teacher examines pleasure, laughter, hard work, and more. He determines that there is nothing to be gained under the sun. Everything we might pursue in this lifetime is but a vapor.
The problem with storing up treasure for ourselves on earth is that moth and rust will destroy it. We should not put our hope in things that can be so easily destroyed.
It is so easy to think about and yearn for earthly things. We must remember how temporary such items are and pursue Christ and His kingdom first.
Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we have a hope that is unlike any hope the world can offer. It is a hope of new life that “can never perish, spoil or fade.”