Several kids surrounded me at the front of the sanctuary one Sunday morning in the middle of our worship service. We literally rolled out a carpet for these kids because we think it’s important to include them in our worship service. Jesus did. We should, too.
So in our designated “Kids’ Time,” they gathered in and looked at what I held: two deflated balloons. I asked, “Which one of these is a balloon?”
They knew they both were.
Then I inflated one balloon, and it grew exponentially. We popped it up in the air, batted it around and tried to keep it from hitting the ground.
Swatting at this big balloon in the middle of the sanctuary during the church service produced a few giggles and smiles, especially when the praise team got involved.
Then I grabbed the deflated balloon. I popped it up in the air, but it dropped right at my feet. I tried again. Same result. There was no laughter or fun. The flat balloon sat there on the ground.
As we settled back down, I held up the big, inflated balloon and the smaller, deflated balloon. “Which one of these is a balloon?” I asked again. Again, the kids confirmed that they both were balloons.
“But look at them,” I said.”One is big and round and so much fun. The other is just flat and lifeless. How can they both be the same?”
That’s when five-year-old Davy spoke up for the first time that day. “They both are the same thing,” he said.”But they don’t have the same thing inside.”
Davy was right. In this example, we are the balloons. The only difference is the inside. Do you feel deflated? Flat? Shapeless? Maybe it’s time to consider what’s filling you. In Genesis 2 Adam is filled with the breath of God, which distinguishes him from the rest of creation. And in God’s grace we receive the Holy Spirit, which fills us with love, joy, peace and so much more.
We can search the world trying to be filled by something else. It’s no better than a deflated balloon. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, however, the transformation is beautiful, full and life-giving. Davy knew it. I hope you do as well. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Billy Byler is the lead pastor at First Church of the Nazarene in Winfield.