"Mom! Mom, I won!" Jeremy shouted as he ran up the front steps.
"Jeremy, that's great!" his mother said. "You have been practicing so hard for this race."
"Look! Here's the mitt I won! Isn't it super?" The words tumbled out of Jeremy as he waved the mitt in the air.
"Wow, that's really a nice one!" his mother exclaimed.
"Besides the mitt, my name will be put on an award and hung on the wall at school!" Jeremy went on. "Please, may I go over to Tim's house and tell him that I won?"
As soon as his mother said yes, he was out the door. He could hardly wait to tell his cousin. He knew Tim would be proud of him.
Tim was eleven years older than Jeremy, but he had always listened when Jeremy shared the important things with him—things like camping, new puppies, and even this race.
"Hey, that's great," Tim exclaimed when he had heard the news. "Who came in second place?"
Jeremy answered, "Mary Jo did." He stopped, then went on. "But she wasn't happy. In fact, she cried. She was just a second or so too late. I felt so bad for her. She tried real hard. I used to see her practicing whenever I was running in the park. It's too bad everybody can't win."
They sat quietly for a while then Jeremy asked, "Tim, why is there always just one winner? Everyone works so hard and then just the winner feels good. You'd think they would make different rules so everyone could feel this happy."
"That would be nice, Jer, but that's not the way life is," Tim replied. "Hey, I know of a race where everybody who crosses the finish line will be a winner. The race to Heaven!"
"Oh, Tim, I'm talking about a race where you run every day to keep in shape," argued Jeremy. "One where you win a prize at the end."
"That's what you do in the race to Heaven," Tim said. "If you want to reach Heaven, you must love Jesus and obey Him all the time. And if you do that, Jesus has promised you a prize at the end—you will live with Him in Heaven forever!"
Children of primary age are very tuned in to rewards, so this lesson will be of great interest to them. We will learn that each one who is saved and in the "race" toward Heaven has been promised a reward if he finishes the race.
Your child will learn that to stay in the race takes effort, but one of the rewards promised is a crown, and to illustrate this, allow your child to make lollipop crowns for each member of your family. Purchase flat lollipops, and draw a simple, crown pattern a little larger than the candy. Let your child use this pattern to draw paper crowns which can be colored and decorated however he wishes. Have him cut them out and tape them to the lollipops. Encourage him to present the lollipops to the family after dinner time, with an explanation of what they represent.