Monday, June 2, 2014

Jesus Wants Me to Love and Help Others by Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

Jesus Wants Me to Love and Help Others
Scripture Reference: Mark 12:31
Related Scripture Reference: Luke 16:19-31
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To remind children that God created and loves all people, regardless of the color of their skin, where they work, what country they live in, or how much money they have. Because God loves all people, he wants us to love all people as well.   

Say: Today we will begin a new theme entitled “Jesus the Great Storyteller.” Jesus was a great preacher and teacher, but the primary way he did both was by telling stories. As your teacher, this is the way I teach you every week. Telling stories is a good way to teach because we remember stories longer than we do other things. For the next three months, we will learn some of the memorable stories Jesus told and what he was attempting to teach by telling them. 

Say: (Display the following verse where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31 NLT)

Reflection: God created and loves all people regardless of their color, where they work, what country they live in, how much money they have, what school they attend, or who their parents are. Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was for us to love him with all our heart, soul, and mind. The second was that we love others as we love ourselves. Ask children the following:  

If I asked you to tell me what love is, what would you say?
Do we see a lot of love in our world or a lot of hate? (If needed, remind children about some wicked acts we hear and read about daily. Explain that these are evidences of people not loving others.)
How do we know God loves all people? (You might mention such things as his letting the sun and rain fall on all people, giving us family to care for us, giving us food to eat and water to drink, etc.)

Bible Story Time: 
Tell children Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar:

Jesus told a story about a man who was very rich. His clothes were the best money could buy. If he lived today, we would say his clothes were the popular name brands everyone was wearing or at least wanted. Since he was rich, he could afford to buy the best. This man had everything else he wanted as well. Anything his heart desired, he could afford to buy. Anywhere he wanted to go, he could afford to go. 

Reflection: How do you think you’d like to be able to buy anything you wanted?

But there’s another person in this story. His name was Lazarus, and he was a beggar. A poor person. This isn’t Jesus’ friend Lazarus whom he raised from the dead. And since this is a story, these two people probably aren’t even real but made up. Poor people in this time didn’t have government programs to help them like we do in our country. They had to depend on other people…especially rich people. But not everyone wanted to help them. Some people were selfish, and the rich man was. Rich people often used pieces of bread to wipe their mouths like we use napkins. After wiping their mouths, they would throw the bread on the ground. If animals didn’t eat them, people like this poor beggar would. 

Reflection: How do you think you might feel if you needed help but no one would help you? 

Not only was Lazarus a beggar, he was also sick. He had sores all over his body, but he was so weak that he couldn’t even fend off the scavenger dogs who roamed the streets and licked his sores. 

The rich man and Lazarus eventually died. They lived differently in life, and their eternities were different as well. The rich man went to hell, and the beggar went to heaven. 

Reflection: Did the rich man go to hell because he was rich and Lazarus to heaven because he was poor? If not, why did they go to each place? (Make sure children understand that it’s not a sin to be rich nor is there any virtue in being poor.)

The rich man could see Lazarus from where he was in hell. While he was being tormented in the fire, the beggar was being comforted by God. He cried out and asked that Lazarus be allowed to bring just a little bit of water to cool his tongue. But Lazarus couldn’t go. The decisions they made in life affected their eternity, and it was too late after death to change their mind. 

Ask: What does this story teach us about loving others no matter who they are? What does it also teach us about our decision to follow Jesus? 

Transition
Let’s sing a song to remind us how important it is to obey what God asks of us.

Song:
Jesus Loves the Little Children

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.

Jesus died for all the children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus died for all the children
Of the world.

Jesus rose for all the children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus rose for all the children
Of the world.


Activity Break: 
ZACCHAEUS’ MANNERS
Have the children sit on the floor. Read aloud Luke 19:5-6.
Say: Zacchaeus had good manners. Who knows what manners are?

After children answer, say: Manners are how we treat each other. When we help people or when we’re kind, we have good manners. When we’re happy for people to come to our home, we have good manners. Or when we share with others, we have good manners. Zacchaeus had good manners because he was happy for Jesus to come to his home.

Say: Sometimes we call being nice to each other “using our manners.” When we share God’s love with other people we are kind and helpful.

Give each child a sheet of construction paper. Print the words, “My hands can help” at the top of each sheet. Have the children lay their hands on the paper and trace around them. Write each child’s name on his or her place mat. 

Have children sit around the table. Set out several plates of cheese cubes, crackers, fruit pieces or other finger foods.

Say: We’re going to share a snack and use our best manners. Using manners means saying “please” and “thank you” and it means passing snacks to other children. Let’s use our manners.

Let all the children help with clean-up, reminding them that this is one way to use manners. Have children hold hands in a circle. Pray: Dear God, thank you for letting us use our manners to help others! Amen.

Wrap Up: 
Give children a blank sheet of paper and let them color the Rich Man and Lazarus. 

Take Away:
Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of the rich man and Lazarus. 
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