Apples or Oranges? – A Presentation on the Love of Jesus and the Fruit of the Spirit designed for 1st through 5th grade students
Memory Verse: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35
10 Fresh Red Apples (9 for the the participants, 1 for the presenter)
10 Large Fresh Oranges (9 for the participants, 1 for the presenter)
1 "safe" knife for cutting the fruit.
Plenty of napkins.
18 8.5” x 11” signs:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, "I don’t care", Sadness, Anger, I give up, Meanness, Doing bad things, Self-centeredness, Harshness, "I want it now!"
Start by asking everyone to read the verse multiple times, then follow with:
“So how will everyone know that we are followers of Jesus? If we “love” each other, right?”
Take an apple out and show it to everyone. This is an example of how the world shows its love. Note that the apple is red, sweet, and somewhat shaped like a valentine heart. Ask the participants if they agree that an apple would make a good symbol for the word “love”.
Ask for nine volunteers and have them come forward and stand in front of the group, give them each one apple and ask them to hold them up so that they can show everyone their “love”.
“So this is love. Or at least what the world considers love. So let’s take a closer look at the worlds version of ‘love’”
Cut a section from the surface of the apple. And show the participants the apple slice.
“First off note that the apple is a different color. What we see on the outside is not the same as what we see on the inside because the apple has a very thin peel of that beautiful red love. But inside, it’s kind of dull and white.”
Ask the participants: “What is the opposite of love?” Most will respond “hate”.
“That’s a great guess and somewhat true, but hate is not the opposite of love because hate requires concern, emotion and action just as love does. The opposite of love is actually an attitude of not caring. That attitude, called apathy or indifference, is the opposite of love, you just really don’t care if someone is hurting or sad or lost.”
Give the first volunteer the sign that reads “I don’t care”
“See, love in the world is like what you see when you get past the surface of the apple, grayish white and dull. The “I don’t care” attitude just below the surface.”
“And if you look even deeper into this kind of ‘love’ what do you find?”
Cut through the center of the apple that was previously cut so that you can expose the seeds at the core.
“See these black seeds at the center, when you get past the surface ‘love’ and the surrounding ‘I don’t care’ attitude, what do you find?”
Hand out the relevant signs to the volunteers in front as you list them.
Sadness “You find sadness, people that are hopeless and desperate for attention, even when that attention is harmful”
Anger “You find anger, people that cannot forgive”
“I give up” “You find people giving up. They say ‘I give up’ to those they once said they loved. You find marriages falling apart, mothers giving up on their babies, fathers giving up on their children and children just giving up”
Meanness “You find meanness, people doing things just to undermine the efforts of others”
Doing Bad Things (Sin) “You find people intentionally doing very bad things to other people”
Self-centeredness ”You find self-centeredness, people that think that the only one they can depend on is themselves”
Harshness “You find harshness, people that make cutting remarks meant to hurt other people”
“I want it now!” “You find people that want lots of expensive toys and they want it ‘Right Now!’ regardless of whether they can afford it or those that they ‘love’ may have to go without!”
Ask the volunteers to hold up their apples to show their ‘worldly love’.
Ask the participants “Are these people showing that they are disciples of Jesus? Is this the love that Jesus meant when he said:
‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’?
No. The love that Jesus meant is like an orange.”
“See the outside of the orange? What color is it?”
Cut the Orange in half from the side so that the sections of the orange are clearly differentiated.
“Look at the inside of the orange. What color is it?”
“Once you get past the surface the inside is filled with the same as the outside”
“And what color are the seeds?”
Orange (or White with orange)
“When you choose to be a disciple of Jesus...when you accept Jesus into your heart and let the Spirit transform your life, your love will be like this orange. It will be a love that goes completely to your core. No matter how hard people try and find the “I don’t care” part they will never find it. No matter how hard people try to find the black seeds, they will never find it. All they will find is the same love that you show on the surface.”
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12
“When we turn our lives over to Jesus and let the Spirit fill us with love for one another this is what happens:”
Hand out oranges and replace the relevant signs that the volunteers are holding.
Love “Love drives out the ‘I don’t care’ attitude”
Joy “Joy drives out sadness”
Peace “Peace drives out anger”
Patience “Patience drives out the “I Give Up” attitude”
Kindness “Kindness drives out meanness”
Goodness “Goodness drives out the desire to do bad things to others”
Faithfulness “Faithfulness drives out self-centeredness”
Gentleness “Gentleness drives out harshness”
Self-Control “Self-Control drives out the ‘I want it now!’ attitude”
Have the participants hold up their oranges.
“Galatians 5:22-23 says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
"What’s more, if an apple falls down it get’s bruised and brown inside, and that never goes away. If an orange falls down, it stays…orange."
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35
"What do you think Jesus meant by ‘love’? Apples or oranges?"
"How do people view your love for each other? Apples or Oranges?"
Have them repeat the momory verse: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35
Read more articles by Aaron Morrow or search for articles on the same topic or others.
Phenomenal object lesson and teaching. Carefully thought out and delivered, I can see this making an impact in a church children's lesson for a congregation to hear...What a blessing, using that old 'apples or oranges' idiom. Bravo!