GEMS SUNDAY SERMON
SARAH AND THE SOCK MONKEY
(c) Copyright 2000 Rev. Bill Versteeg
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! (NIV)
Sarah remembered well the day when the GEMS counselor came into the class with a bag full of old socks, and stuffing, and thread, and other odds and ends. The whole group did not have a clue what they were going to do with all this old stuff, but Sarah was soon to find out. They were going to make sock Monkeys.
Sarah had never knitted, never sown in her life. She had never even sown on a button before. This was all new to her. But the counselor was well prepared. Each GEM got to pick the socks they wanted to work with, Sarah, not knowing what it means to make a Sock Monkey choose some old grey and white ones. Once the choices had been made they went to work. First the best sock had to be cut off just beneath the heal, then another sock needed to be cut into strips, the toe was cut off and kept in one piece. At the end of the first day, all they had was strips of old socks cut in a certain way. It didn't look like much but Sarah had done her best to cut the sock just right. Each Gem got a small plastic bag to put their sock parts in - till next time. Sarah was hardly excited about this project. It sure didn't look like much yet.
But the second week came quickly and this time they learned how to thread a needle. They spent the entire class sewing the long thin strips of sock into narrow tubes - 5 of them in all. Two of them were acutally still part of a sock. Sarah worked very hard! She was one of the few in the class who finished all the tubes, turned them inside out and then put stuffing on the inside. She felt a lot of pride in what she accomplished on that day. On top of that, her counselor told her that she was finished the legs and tail.
The third week that they worked on the their sock monkeys was by far the hardest. They took the toes of socks, one was stitched to the end of a sock, the other to a side. That seemed to be the hardest of all because it was so hard to keep things straight. And then ears were cut and sown on, but it seemed like so much hard work and Sarah knew she had made some mistakes - her monkey wasn't perfect. She was discouraged. She started thinking that nothing would come of it. But she still did her best, and she could see in her imagination what her monkey might look like in the end.
The final craft week came, it was time to finish the hard work they had begun. The counselor came with a can of buttons and a bag of eyes of all different sizes, and ribbons to make imperfect monkeys look a little better. In that class Sarah's monkey came together. She stuffed it, put buttons on it (boy was Sarah's Mom surprised later when she caught Sarah putting a button back on her blouse by herself), she even made a tuft of wool hair to stick out of his head at the top.
The moneky wasn't perfect. The mouth was on a little crocked, and one eyebrow was a little lower than the other, but the Monkey seemed to have character with a big smile. She took the monkey home with pride, her Father and Mother could hardly believe that she had made the whole Monkey herself - but she had, "With help." she said.
Sarah played with her monkey, sometimes talked with her monkey. The years went by. Sarah became a teen ager. The Sock Monkey was left hanging on the post of her bed, there to greet her every morning with the same smile, and with his unblinking eyes to watch her fall asleep every night. Sarah's life became busier and busier. She went to college, there met a young man whom she later married and they lived in a different town.
For years, Sarah's Mom and Dad kept Sarah's room just the way she left it. She did come home on occasion and it was always nice to come back to her old room, just the way it was. But after she got married, Sarah's Mom decided that her old room needed some work. She wanted to make it into a guest room, so Mom called up Sarah one day and asked if she could donate all that left over stuff to the Church kitchen renovation garage sale. Sarah remember all her teddy bears and blankets, and dolls and toys - most of them now worn out anyways. "That's find Mom, go ahead!" That's what her mother did. She donated everything to the church summer garage sale.
That summer, Sarah had forgotten all about the garage sale. Sarah went home to visit her mother and she just happened to be there on the week of the garage sale. For a fun Saturday morning, her mother suggested that they go garage saling together. They stopped at a number of different homes and looked around at worn out tools and clothing, most over10 years old. It was fun to be together but Sarah did not really see anything she liked or wanted. They decided to go together to the church garage sale too, just to see how it was going. Certainly now that it was almost lunch time, the sale would be slowing down.
They got to the church and sure enough, in the parking lot people were still milling around looking at the old toys and some of the junk that people had brought. Sarah walked through the sale. She found herself talking to old friends and acquaintences a lot more than she was shopping. She noticed one of her old teddy bears and a barby doll she once owned, and she was thankful that maybe some other young person could enjoy them.
She walked through the furniture area of the sale. There was her old bed, worn out . But on the bed she saw something she remembered very well,s till hanging on the one post of her bed - (guess what?)
Yes! There it was hanging where it always had been, the Sock Monkey. For the first time on this garage saling day, Sarah wanted to buy something very badly.
She ran up to a sales person and asked: "How much do you want for that old sock monkey?"
"Oh - that goes with the bed." was the answer. Nobody had shown interest in the bed, or the sock monkey and the person selling them just did not cherish the idea of bringing the old bed to the dump. So seeing he had a hopeful buyer, the monkey and the bed had to go together.
"How much are you willing to give me for the bed?"
Sarah looked in her purse. She had a $10 bill, nothing else.
"All I want is the sock monkey?"
"Well, OK, how much are you willing to give me for the monkey?"
"She looked in her purse again - how about $10?"
"You can have the monkey and the bed and the lamp beside it for that much," the sales person responded. "Why is that worn out crocked monkey worth so much to you?"
"Because I made it." Sarah answered. And with that she bought back her monkey for the outrageous price of $10 and proudly took her masterpiece home. For years to come, her sock monkey dangled from her bedpost, now even in her new home.
(Dialogue with children)
Now I have some questions for you?
Was Sarah's sock monkey worth a lot? Why? (Notice it is nothing special, but it was special because she made it) Do you think it was worth the $10 dollars that she paid for it (To her it was!)
You have learned that you are very special this year in Gems. Why? (because God made us). You are worth a lot to God because he made you. If God had to buy you back, how much do you think he would pay - 10, 20, 100 ?
I'll tell you how much you are worth - so much that he would give for you his one and only son to die on the cross.
You are worth that much to God. You might be imperfect, not the best looking, not the most gifted or smartest, strongest, but God loves you and he gave his son just so that he could have you back. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."
(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.