Lenten Lesson: Parable of the Foolish Rich Man

This lesson is the fourth lesson in a series of five that explore the Lenten theme “Walk His Ways” using a parable Bible story. This lesson would work for Sunday School or Children’s Church.

Explanation: Lent is a 40 day journey (not counting Sundays!) to focus on God and prepare to remember and celebrate Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the grave to save each of us.  Many people decide to “give up” things for Lent to help them remember that Jesus gave his life for us, but you can also “take on” doing good things, just like Jesus did.  Through the exploration of parable Bible stories, the “Walk His Ways” Lent lessons help children discover how we can attempt to live and serve as Jesus did in the kind of kingdom he envisioned.  Each of the five lessons addresses “walking his ways” with a different parable and theme.  This lesson explores needs and wants and helping everyone to have enough with Jesus’ story of the Rich Fool.

Bible Story: The Parable of the Foolish Rich Man
Scripture: Luke 12:16-21
Target Age Group: Age 3 – 12 (U.S. preschool – 6th Grade)
Time: 45 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: Children will experience the story of The Foolish Rich Man, exploring the difference between wants and needs and considering as God’s people how we can help care for everyone.

Items Needed:

  • Shoe nametags & extra supplies
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks
  • Poster Board
  • Markers
  • Walk His Ways Kids’ Guide PDF
  • Puppets
  • Cup, Lemonade Sign, Coins
  • Cardboard Banks
  • Fair Trade Chocolate
  • Non Fair Trade Chocolate

Introduction:

  • Nametags: Children find their shoe nametag that they made during the first lesson and put it on.  If there are children without a nametag, provide materials and allow them to make one.
  • Needs vs. Wants Collages: Children cut out magazine pictures of things and work with their table or small group to glue them on large piece of poster board divided into two columns titled needs/wants.
  • Discussion Questions: What is a need?  What is a want?  What’s the difference? Is it ok to get things we want?  Are there people who don’t have their “needs”? I wonder how God feels about people’s needs and wants? How can we help make sure everyone’s needs are met?
  • Check in about the “Walk His Ways” challenges if you are using the guides.

Game: This or That Hunger Awareness
Children stand along one wall, and in response to the following questions move from one side of the room to the other.  Go stand by the other wall if…

  • You have eaten dessert or a sweet treat this week.  (hungry people in poor countries rarely get dessert)
  • You can drink water many times a day.  (some people are hungry because they have no water to drink or to grow food)
  • Your freezer at home has bags or boxes of food in it.  (people in many places don’t have refrigerators or freezers to keep food fresh)
  • You have to walk a mile to get to the nearest drink of water.  (in many countries people do, and even then the water is dirty)
  • You ate meat today.  (many people eat only grains and never get to eat fish or meat)

Discuss each item as you come to it and end with a repeat after me prayer thanking God for food and asking to help us make no one hungry.

Bible Story: The Parable of the Rich Fool

The parable story is taught in this lesson using the following puppet script.  You may also want to read Luke 12:16-21 from the Bible.  Use these follow-up discussion questions after the puppet show:  What happened?  What was Billy doing wrong?  What does God want us to do with our money and our things?  Is it fair for some people to have a lot and others to have barely anything at all?

Parable Puppet Show:  Lemonade For Sale!

An Adaptation of the Parable of the Foolish Rich Man

Materials: one boy puppet, two girl puppets, cup, lemonade sign, coins

Billy: (shouting) Lemonade $.25, Lemonade $.25, (notices audience) Oh! Hi kids!  My name is Billy.  Do you like my lemonade stand?  I’m raising money for my favorite cause…ME!  I started out trying to get enough money to buy this really cool little airplane I saw at the toy store, but business was really good earlier today and I’ve got plenty of change for that, see (jingles coins). I’ve got even more hidden in a box underneath my lemons.  If business gets any better, I might have to get a bigger box, or bigger lemons?  (scratches his head) Hmmm…Hold it, here comes a customer!

Jenna: Hey Billy!

Billy: Hiya Jenna.  What can I do for you?

Jenna: I want another glass of lemonade.  It’s pretty good!  Can you hurry?  It’s hot out here!  Here’s my nickel.

Billy: Jenna!  Can’t you read the sign?  The price is $.25 a glass.

Jenna: $.25?!  A little while ago I got a glass for $.05?

Billy: Well that was early this morning when I was just getting started.  The price has gone up.

Jenna: Gone up?  But I walked all the way across the street to get some lemonade.  I’m thirsty and it’s hot out here!

Billy: That’s right and the hotter it gets the more people want lemonade, and the more people WANT lemonade, the more it’s going to cost.

Jenna: But Billy, THAT’S not fair!

Billy: THAT’S supply and demand.

Jenna: But I’m thirsty and all I have is a nickel.

Billy: Well, looks like you’re going to be walking back across the street thirsty.

Jenna: That’s not very nice.

Billy: Take it or leave it.

Jenna: Whatever! (Exits)

Billy: Oh Well, that’s just a drop in the bucket.  There’s plenty more customers where she came from.  In fact, I’ve got so much money I don’t even think I want that little airplane anymore.  It’s dinky!  I think I’ll buy one of those flying model airplanes with the remote control, the super-de-duper-deluxe model!  Nobody I know has one of those.  That’ll be so cool!  I’ll be set for life and then if I have enough left over, I think I’ll have a pizza party for…me!  A lovely cheese pizza just for me!  And some soda pop, lots of soda pop!  Pizza…soda pop and party all night long!  Wahoo (dances a little). Well, at least until my bedtime…Oh good.  Here comes another customer.

Julie: Hi Billy.  Whatcha doin?

Billy: Hi Julie!  I’m selling lemonade.  What to buy some?

Julie: Gee, I don’t know.  It sure looks good, but a quarter…that’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?

Billy: What?  No way.  I’ve sold all kinds of lemonade today.  I’ve made a fortune!

Julie: Really?  What are you going to do with all that money?

Billy: Well, first thing I’m going to do is make a bunch more money and then I’m going to spend it on…ME!

Julie: But Billy?  Doesn’t your Mom & Dad give you an allowance?

Billy: Well, ya, but…

Julie: And don’t they get you anything you need?

Billy: Well yes, but I want to be set for life!

Julie: Life!  Billy, you are only six!

Billy: You can never start too early.

Julie: Gee, I don’t know (scratches her head).

Billy: You don’t know if you like lemonade or not?

Julie: Nooo…I don’t know if it’s ok for you to charge so much for your lemonade just so you can have a big airplane and pizza and soda and party all night long.

Billy: Well, why not?  It sounds pretty awesome to me!

Julie: Well, it’s just that you don’t need all that stuff and I know there are other kids who don’t even have the things they DO need like food and clothes and a place to live.  It doesn’t seem fair for you to have so much and someone else to have nothing.

Billy: Hmmm….maybe you’re right Julie.  I’ve been kinda selfish.

Julie: AND greedy too…

Billy: Ok, fine…and greedy too.  I guess I don’t need a super-de-duper-deluxe airplane.  I think I’ll just get the little one and give the rest of my money to someone who needs it more, like the kids who need backpacks of food over the weekend that we are using our Sunday School offering at church to buy.

Julie: I think that’s a great idea Billy!  Way to go!  Wow, I’m really thirsty.  Now, could I have a glass of lemonade?

Billy: Sure Julie.  That’ll be $.25.  I’m saving for kids who need food, now.  (Shakes his money)

Julie: (hits herself in the head) Uhhhggg!!

Billy: Bye, everybody!

Julie: Bye!

THE END

Art Activity: Bank On It! Children decorate a small cardboard bank to use to save money to give to others by cutting out magazine pictures of things people need; food, clothing, shelter, love and gluing them on to the bank.  Discuss different places where they might give the money they save; buy an animal, give to Sunday School offering project, donate to food bank, etc.  Small plain cardboard banks can be purchased here or you can use any small container that closes and just add a slit for the money.

Snack Activity: Chocolate Comparison Provide each child with a small piece of Fair Trade chocolate and one piece that isn’t Fair Trade.  Remove the chocolate pieces from their wrappers before class and place them on plates labeled “A” and “B”.  Ask the children to compare and contrast the chocolate.  Which piece was better?  Discuss how purchasing Fair Trade products can help others in need.  You and your children can learn much more about Fair Trade through these websites:

Prayer: Consider using a “repeat after me prayer” to close each of the Lent lessons.  Pause between every few words, allowing the children to echo what you have said.  Dear Jesus,/You are/so good./Help us/to walk/your ways/and serve others/as you would serve./Amen.

Need More Ideas? Then check out more lesson plans about Jesus or ask your questions in our forums about children’s church.


Comments

  1. Shari says

    This lesson was fantastic! The discussion that the kids engaged in regarding “needs vs. wants” was fascinating. I started the conversation by asking: is cable tv a need or a want? Both sides were screamed out and the energy started there. I brought them back into a more in depth conversation by saying, “this is a debate that Congress has had for many years” so what if you can’t decide? From there, the kids would really think of both sides of needs or wants. We did the game of walking to the other side of the room which made a poignant point also. Where they really shined was the art activity. I modified it by giving groups of five a piece of poster board divided by a line with ‘Needs’ at the top of one side and ‘Wants’ at the top of the other. I had church members donate magazines and each group cut out pictures and made collages of things that represented needs and wants. They then presented them to the class and told why they thought that was one or the other. Some of the needs were so thoughtful: education, the military, a brain, etc. Thank you for such valuable lessons. I have done the entire 5 week Lenten series lessons and they have truly enriched the lives of all of us during this 40 day journey. You are my favorite resource for our Children’s Ministry!

  2. Glory Rajan says

    A great effort. Please keep up your hard work in nurturing the young minds with spiritual food.
    Could you please help me with the Bible lessons for the children who come from Christian families but are more worldly.
    Thanks in advance.
    God bless your ministry.

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