I teach a Sunday School class for 17 and 18 year olds. Each Sunday I bring a random object and ask the class members to find a lesson in it. I reserve time at the end of the lesson to let the class share their thoughts.
Last Sunday I brought in a sea shell I picked up on a recent business trip to India. I showed them the shell at the beginning of the lesson and asked them to guess where I got it. Of course, no one guessed and they were surprised to learn it was from India. I then proceeded with my lesson.
When I asked if anyone had an object lesson, one of the class members shared the following. “You have to put a sea shell close to your ear and listen hard to hear the sound of the ocean. So too, do we have to draw the Spirit to us by being obedient to God’s commandments and then listen carefully to hear His message”. “Great!”, I thought, “that was exactly the lesson I had hoped someone would share.”
Another student mentioned how the shell was brought to the beach by the surf and placed there for me. However, I had to walk the beach to find it and had to pick it up to enjoy it. The hand of Providence often puts blessings within our reach but expects us to make an effort to benefit from them. That was insightful and something I hadn’t seen.
Then a student raised her hand and said, “at first glance we didn’t know the story behind the shell and thought it was ordinary. It wasn’t until you told us that it was from India that we realized it had a story. People are like that too, they may seem ordinary but they all have their own story if we look a little deeper.” Wow!
Aren’t youth amazing? They only need a little encouragement to shine and share their unique gifts.