Children can have a challenging time understanding metaphors and abstract concepts. In this Gospel passage, Jesus offers some hyperbolic statements that can be hard even for adults. The focus of this message emphasizes the “salt” element, though. Kids are encouraged to think about the importance of our influence on the world as Christians. Just as salt can add flavor to food (among other things), we can “flavor” those around us and maintain an essential impact on those we encounter.
Law/Gospel Theme: Jesus wants us to do all things in and through Him. He tells the disciples that all things done in His name are for Him, and it is essential for us to remain faithful and focused. It might seem strange to consider salt losing its “saltiness”, but it’s possible. In the same way, we aren’t going to accidentally lose faith as if we dropped it on the sidewalk, but we can reject God’s teachings if we choose to. However, as long as we maintain trust in Jesus, we know He will live in us and help us. Christ will keep us “salty” and help us to make a difference for others who see us.
Optional Materials: Salt; crackers or item with and without salt (optional)
Bible Passage: Mark 9:38-50
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video demonstration of this children’s sermon and related Bible craft ideas
- Compare our Salt & Light Sunday School Lesson
- Compare our preschool lesson on being Salt and Light
- Download the activity worksheet on good and bad salt for Sunday School classes
Message Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs. Use your judgment and ideas to best serve students.
Children’s Sermon (Mark 9:38-50) Be Salty Christians
Greet children, with salt and crackers hidden from view.
Hello, children of God!
I am thinking of an item that has been significant throughout most of the history of the world. It is something that actually comes from minerals, and can be found in the ground and in the sea. It has a lot of uses, including everything from de-icing highways to water conditioning. It used to be valued and used like money! This item has amazing chemical properties, and it can be used to preserve things, or keep them from going bad. However, we also eat it! It adds a depth of flavor to the taste of our food. Can you guess what it is? (Hold up salt container or salt shaker). That’s right, it’s salt!
Salt makes a difference. For instance, try this cracker (pass out bland, unsalted cracker or item). Now try this one (provide a salted cracker for comparison). The salt probably made it taste better, didn’t it? But why are we talking about salt, anyway?
Well, Jesus talked about salt, in more than one Biblical conversation. In today’s Gospel passage, He told the disciples to “have salt in themselves, and be at peace”. Does that mean Jesus wanted them to eat more salt? No…Jesus was talking about the kind of impact they could have on other people. He had just been discussing importance of remaining steadfast in our faith. When we do things in the name of Christ, anything can happen. It’s important to rely on Him for strength and power in all that we do, and to recognize that He gives us the ability to influence others. Jesus warned not to let salt “lose its saltiness”, which sounds odd, but He wanted to let His followers know how important it is to stay connected to Him. We make mistakes, and He always grants grace; but we rely on Him to keep us fresh and faithful!
We want to be “salty” as Christians…usually we don’t think of “salty” as a compliment, but in this case it’s important! As we mentioned, salt can do amazing things. It can add flavor and value, and it can keep things fresh and change them. Jesus does that, too, and He uses us to accomplish the task! We are sort of like the salt shakers. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we go out to do His work and to have an effect on others. We can show them love and tell them about God’s love. We can refresh their perspectives and hopefully influence their thoughts. We add a new “flavor” to the world when others see the deep joy and care that we exhibit as disciples.
So, as we read God’s word, pray, and meet with others, we take that essential time to stay close to Jesus and “fill our shakers”. Then we have opportunities to go into the world and be salty! We demonstrate what it means to have the power of Christ in our lives. Hopefully others receiving that “salt sprinkle” will want to be filled, as well. That’s ultimately up to God. Our job is to be faithful followers, love and serve the Lord, and be “salty” in the best way possible. So let’s preserve and flavor the world!
Why don’t we say a prayer about that now?
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for giving us faith
Help us trust in you for all things
Help us to be “salty” Christians
So we can love and influence others
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” –Mark 9:38-50