All Puffed Up
Don't think too highly of yourself.
A balloon with a face drawn on it. Since the balloon needs to burst at just the right moment, tape a thumbtack to the inside of one of your fingers with clear tape so that it can't be seen. Then you can prick the balloon when you want it to burst.
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:11 (NIV)
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This morning I have some balloons with me. A balloon is a simple toy, but it brings a lot of pleasure to people of all ages. There are so many things you can do with a balloon. You can use balloons for decorations at a party or you can bat them around in the air like a ball. If you have a long, skinny balloon, you can even make it into the shape of different animals. Yes, a balloon can bring a lot of happiness, but it can bring sadness and disappointment too. Haven't you ever seen a small child cry when his balloon bursts?
You and I are sometimes like a balloon. We sometimes get all puffed up with our own importance. (Start blowing up the balloon) We think we are great and we expect everyone else to think so too. (Blow) Maybe it is because we are so good looking, (Blow) or maybe it is because we are so smart. (Blow) Maybe we are really good in sports, (Blow) or perhaps we are the best singer in the choir. (Blow) Sooner or later, if we keep getting puffed up with our own importance, something will happen to burst our balloon. (prick the balloon)
Jesus warned us that this would happen. The Bible teaches us that if we are too proud and think too highly of ourselves, we are headed for a fall. On the other hand, if we are humble, and realize that it is through God's strength that we are able to do great things, we will be given a place of honor in the kingdom of God.
From now on, when you see a balloon, I hope it will remind you that we should not become too puffed up with our own importance -- or something may come along and burst our balloon!
Jesus, help us to be humble. Remind us that whatever abilities we have are a gift from you and that you are the one who deserves the praise! These things we pray in your holy name. Amen.