Adult Object Lesson: Light of the World

bushelThis Little Light of Mine . . . 

Matthew 5: 14-16
“You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket,
but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
 In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father in heaven.


We once had a church organist who was technically very capable but had no church background. I asked him to play “This Little Light of Mine” one Sunday. Although easy enough to play by ear, I found printed music for him.


He balked. “This is unsingable,” he said. “The rhythms are too difficult.”


The pastor was by my side smiling as I responded.


“Every three-year-old who has been to Sunday School knows this song. Play it.”


Start today’s lesson by singing This Little Light of Mine together.


It is fun to sing. It is not just for children. Gospel singers like it, too.


It builds on a concept, straight from the Bible, that we often don’t think about today.


What is a bushel? How would you put a light under a bushel?


Having grown up in a house on a lot carved out of a cornfield, I knew from a young age that a bushel was a measure. My brothers and I gleaned corn from the field, shucked it, filled bushel baskets, and sold the corn to a granary—my first job!

Our bushel “baskets” were metal. I never really thought about putting a candle under one.


A bushel basket is about the size of a small wash basket. If you have one a bushel basket, use it. If you don’t, use a small wash basket.


You might use a small candle. A tea light would be perfect.


Keep in mind that the bushel in Jesus’ time was probably a woven basket. Because of the size and airiness of the bushel basket, covering it would not deprive the flame of enough oxygen to extinguish the light, but the light would not shine so brightly or so far.


The analogy is more about impediment. The song leaves the snuffing out to Satan.


Our lot is to keep the light shining as brightly as we can.


Today’s adult object lesson leads us to ponder how we create impediments that keep our lights from shining—and in doing so tempt Satan to finish the job.


Ask your adult learners what stops them from doing their best. How are they shading their lights?


And then sing the song!

This little light of mine.
I’m going to let it shine.

 Hide it under a bushel, no!
I’m going to let it shine.


(At this point you could add some verses written by your adult learners. For example: Won’t let time get in my way. I’m going to let it shine.)

Don’t let Satan blow it out.
I’m going to let it shine.

All around the neighborhood
I’m going to let it shine.

photo credit: Lodigs via photopin cc