(Based on the song “For God So Loved the World”)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 NIV
In our neighborhood there’s an orange cat named Petey. One day I looked out the back window and there he was, wandering around our back yard. I’d never seen Petey this far from his home before. Was he lost? I was sure Petey’s owners were worried.
I went outside to help Petey. All I wanted to do is pick him up and bring him back to his safe and secure home. In a gentle voice, I said “hello” to him.
“Meow,” he responded. I should have listened. He was telling me to leave him alone.
Scooping him up, I walked towards his house, happy with my good deed. From this day forward, Petey would look at me as a hero. What a lucky cat he was.
But then I felt a sharp pain in my arm, as if someone had stuck me with a pin.
It happened again. Petey was biting me! I thought he understood that I was his hero. I thought he was grateful for my help.
He wasn’t. It turns out I had to put Petey down because he kept biting me. He was on his own. I couldn’t help him. Why?
My orange friend didn’t trust me.*
Jesus wants to help us. Jesus wants to give us hope, joy, and eternal life. But there’s one thing we have to do before he can help us.
We need to trust him.
That’s what the Bible means when it says “…whoever believes in him…” If we trust him, he can help us. If we believe in him, we won’t perish, which means we won’t die. Instead, we’ll live.
But we need to trust him. We need to believe.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Have you ever tried to feed, pet, or pick up a cat, dog, or other small animal but couldn’t because they wouldn’t trust you?
OBJECT LESSON: Do you have animals outside where you live? Maybe birds, squirrels, or rabbits? Try to pet one. Why do you think they run away? Compare with how people run away from Jesus.
ART: Draw a picture of an orange cat.
PRAYER: “Lord, thank you that you help us when we believe in you.”
*Don’t worry, Petey found his way home.