Is it enough to only express thankfulness to God? Why and how should we take the time to say, “thank you” to others? In part 2 of “Biblical Thankfulness,” children will learn that real thankfulness to God will lead to thankfulness for others. Our words and actions must work together if we are serious about being thankful.
OBJECTIVE: To learn that true thankfulness to God leads to showing thankfulness to others.
MAIN IDEA: If we are truly thankful to God for our relationship to Christ, then we will also show thankfulness to fellow believers who obediently strive to fulfill God’s will.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (review), 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (review), Romans 1:8, Romans 6:17, Colossians 1:3-4, Philemon 1:3-5, 2 Corinthians 9:1-2, James 2:26
MATERIAL(S): Construction paper, markers, stickers, and other various craft supplies, white board or poster board
MORE IDEAS: Don’t miss our large collection of Thanksgiving ideas for children’s ministry.
Introduction (5 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, we are thankful for your son, Jesus. Help us to understand the importance of also showing thankfulness to others. Amen.”
LESSON REVIEW: Ask, “Why should we be thankful to God (for his salvation, provision, protection, creation, etc)? Can we still be thankful even when we’re in a hard situation?” Review that Paul faced many hardships (2 Corinthians 11:24-28), but he was still thankful to God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Lesson (20 minutes)
1. Explain to the students that we are certainly supposed to be thankful to others for “earthly things,” such as our parents’ care for us, but we also need to remember to be thankful for spiritual things. Say, “Because we understand what it means to be thankful to God, we can be thankful to others. Today we’ll discuss spiritual reasons why we should thank others.” Read the following passages:
Romans 1:8 – When someone’s faith leads you and others to Jesus.
Romans 6:17 – When obedience to God is evident.
Colossians 1:3-4, Philemon 1:3-5 – When a person’s faith and love points others to Christ.
2 Corinthians 9:1-2 – When their generosity and eagerness to serve leads others to obedience.
2. Ask, “So why do you think it’s important to thank one another for spiritual things (to encourage, strengthen, and affirm one another)?” Add that the main reason we thank one another is to give glory to God for what he is doing through his believers. Ask, “Do you think it’s enough to say we’re thankful and not show it in our actions? What can we do to show thankfulness?” Allow time for students to answer, and then look up James 2:26 (faith without deeds is dead/useless). Remind them that true thankfulness in our hearts is shown through our actions. And if our hearts aren’t thankful, then we can’t truly serve God or others!
More Letters of Thankfulness (15 minutes)
Ask, “Who is the leader of our church (the pastor)? What are his responsibilities (to preach, teach, guide, protect, visiting the sick, etc)? We’re going to list some specific things our pastor does in obedience to God’s calling on his life.” Make a list of responsibilities on the board and be sure to add actions the students may not know about (such as taking care of the church building, spending long days preparing for sermons, etc). Then pass out the paper and craft supplies. Say, “We are going to use the list we created to make cards and thank our pastor for all the ways he serves our church. This is a great way to encourage him, and an easy way for us to practice thankfulness.” When the students have completed their cards ask them to personally give the cards to the pastor before they leave church for the day.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Thankfulness to God and others must be shown through our actions. When we humble ourselves and are obedient to God then we will be willing to express thankfulness to others.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, thank you for those who teach us more about you. Continue showing us how to be thankful to others this week. Amen.”