Monday, June 2, 2014

Jesus Wants Me to Love and Help Others II 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: Matthew 20:16
Related Scripture Reference: Matthew 20:1-16
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To remind children that God is like our boss. We work for him, and we should do the very best we can when we are using the gifts and talents he gives us. 

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. So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last. (Matthew 20:16 NLT)

Reflection: God created and loves all people. When we accept Jesus as our Savior by asking him to forgive us of our sins, we become God’s children. Once we become God’s children, he gifts us gifts to use as we serve him. Gifts like teaching, preaching, being a missionary, special knowledge, the ability to give wise advice to other people, and the gift of having great faith in God. Every one of God’s children has at least one gift; many have more. When we use them faithfully, God will give us more, but we must use them. God wants us to work for him by using these gifts. The work he wants us to do is to tell others about his love, to invite them to trust Jesus as their Savior, to obey his commands, to love him with all our heart, and to work for him with the best of our ability. He saves us even though we don’t deserve it. We call this grace. This simply means God gives us something we don’t deserve—in this case salvation.

Bible Story Time: 
Tell children Jesus’ story of the Workers in the Vineyard:

Jesus told a story about a man who owned a lot of land. On this land, he planted grape vineyards. Well, he needed people to help him in the vineyard. The vines had to be pruned so the vines would produce more grapes, and the grapes had to be picked and pressed so he could make grape juice and wine. He couldn’t do all this by himself. He had to have help. 

Reflection: What does this teach us about working together for God? (We are not lone rangers. We can always do more when we work together than we try to do it all ourselves.) What are some ways Christians can work together? The Bible says the church is like a body. How does the way our bodies work together teach us how to work together as believers?

In Jesus’ day, people were paid at the end of each day. Today, some people are paid weekly, others every two weeks, and still others once a month. All the man’s workers were expecting to be paid at the end of the day. At nine o’clock in the morning, the man went down to the marketplace and saw people standing around waiting for someone to hire them. He hired them, and told them he would pay them the normal wage at the end of the day. At noon, he went back to the marketplace and hired some more people, telling them the same thing. Then at three o’clock, he went back again and hired more workers. Once again, he told them he would pay them what was fair at the end of the day. He even went back one more time at five o’clock and hired some more workers. While the landowner needed people to work in his grape vineyards, he didn’t have to hire any of these people. He chose to. 

Reflection: Do any of you know when God hires us to work in his Kingdom? What are some types of work he wants us to do? (Explain to students that this happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.) 

Finally, the end of the work day came, and the laborers lined up before the foreman to receive their pay. The ones who had been working all day thought they would surely get more pay than those who had only worked a few hours. But guess what happened? They all received the same pay. Those who had worked all day complained to the foreman. This might not seem fair, but remember the landowner didn’t have to hire anyone. Also, all of them had agreed to work for what was fair. If he wanted to pay the ones who had only worked a few hours the same as those who had worked all day, that was his business. It was his money and his vineyard. 

Reflection: The pay in this story represents our salvation. Suppose you received Jesus as your Savior when you were very young, but someone else didn’t until they were an older adult. Suppose you had never been very bad, but this other person had been extremely evil. They had killed, robbed, and spent time in prison. This story reminds us that God loves all of us the same. Heaven and forgiveness are for all who choose to follow God, whether they’ve only been doing it a short time—like the workers who had only worked a few hours, or whether they have been doing it most of their life—like the workers who had been working all day. When God gives us forgiveness even though we don’t deserve it, what do we call this? (grace) Can you think of some examples when it seems it wouldn’t be fair for God to save someone?

Ask: What does this story teach us about God’s love? What does it teach us about working for God? 

Wrap Up: 
Let children color a picture of types of work we might do for God. 

Activity Break: 
Reaching for Hearts
Use this game to teach kids how important it is to support each other as Christians trying to spread the good news about Jesus.

Stuff: You’ll need candy bars and clear packing tape.

Play: Before kids arrive, tape candy bars onto the wall high enough so kids can’t reach them without standing on chairs. Tell kids the object of the game is to reach the candy bars
without the help of furniture or other people. Let kids try to grab the candy bars. Once they’ve given up, have them form groups and work together to reach the candy bars. Two kids can form a step by locking their hands together and lifting the third person high enough to reach a candy bar for all three.

Cool Down: Ask kids to compare their first attempt to reach the candy bars with their second. Ask: What ways do you tell your friends about your faith? Why is it important to work together and support each other as Christians? How can you support a friend this week?

Transition
Let’s sing a song to remind us how important it is to obey God by working for him.

Song: 
Sing Hosanna (Give Me Oil in My Lamp)

Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning
Keep me burning 'til the break of day

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising
Give me joy in my heart, I pray
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising
Keep me praising 'til the break of day

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings

Give me love in my heart, keep me serving
Give me love in my heart, I pray
Give me love in my heart, keep me serving
Keep me serving 'til the break of day

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings

Take Away:
Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of the workers in the vineyard.  

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