This is a Sunday school lesson about being a righteous “tree planted.” The children learn about what a righteous person is and how they need to feed on the Word of God to grow strong in the Lord. It can be followed up by an activity where the children plant tree seeds.
Bible Passage: Psalm 1
Target Age: K- 6th grade
Time Needed: 30 minutes
Materials Needed: Chalkboard or Whiteboard, green construction paper leaves (pre-cut), tape
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Learning Objective: The children will learn how Psalm 1 defines a righteous man and how they, too, can become righteous.
- Show a photograph of a big, mature tree such as an oak tree.
- “How did this tree become so big and tall?” Children respond with various answers (soil, water, sun, air, etc)
- “We, too, need things to grow. We will not grow to be more like Jesus on our own. We need to be fed in order to become strong, just like this tree.”
- “Today we will look at what the Bible says about how we can become big and strong in the Lord.”
- Open your Bible to Psalm 1.
- Read aloud the verses while the children follow along.
- “In this psalm it says that a righteous man is like a tree. What does it mean to be righteous?” Children respond.
- “A righteous person is one whose sins have been forgiven. God looks upon them as clean.”
- Draw a large, leafless tree on the board. “This tree is like a righteous man, or you and me if we have believed in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to take away our sins.”
- “Looking back at the psalm, what are some things it says are true of a righteous person?” Children will read back over the psalm to search for answers to this question.
- When an answer is given, write it on one of the pre-cut leaves and tape it to one of the branches of the tree you’ve drawn on the board. If a child gives a characteristic of a righteous person which is not included in the psalm feel free to include it on a leaf clarifying that is a good answer, but not included in today’s passage.
- Ideas for what can go on each leaf: blessed (v.1), delights in the law (v.2), meditates on the law (v. 2), bears fruit (v.3), leaf does not wither (v. 3), prospers (v. 3) and the Lord knows his way (v.6).
- As a leaf is added, define what it means.
- Discuss examples of how each leaf can be lived out in the lives of the children in your class.
- Read each leaf together one more time as a review.
- “All of these leaves are good things. What is most important here is that a righteous person delights and meditates on God’s Word. A righteous person needs to read God’s Word in order to grow big and strong in the Lord. The Bible is like our food!”
- “But, not everyone is a righteous tree planted by streams of water. Only those who have trusted in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to die for their sins are made righteous.”
- “Are you a righteous person? Have you believed in Jesus who died in your place on the cross, so God could forgive your sins? Today may be the day when you can become a righteous person who spends the rest of your life growing big and strong by learning more from God’s Word, the Bible.”
More Learning Activities:
Planting Trees: To give the children a tactile reinforcement of this lesson, you can lead them in planting tree seeds in a cup of soil to take home and tend. Explain that a tree takes a long time to grow just like it will take a righteous person a lifetime to grow strong in the Lord.
- If doing extended activity: disposable cups (1 per child), tree seeds, soil, and sharpie for labeling names on the cups
Erase the Bible Verse: This is a fun game to memorize longer Bible verses such as Psalm 1:1.
Encouragement Game: You could relate the spiritual maturity concept to encourage kids with what they can become as they continue to walk in obedience to God’s Word.