This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 10:17-31 when Jesus speaks about the rich. It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry. If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year B – 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Gospel Reading – Mark 10:17-31.
Opening Activity – Through the Needle’s Eye – Can it Fit?
Supplies – dry ingredient measuring cup (any size), clear containers with water, large tray or bin
Pre-Class Prep – Fill your clear containers with water. Use the measuring cup to fill a few so they will be an exact fit, then fill others with a little bit less, a little bit more, a lot less, and a lot more. Try to use different types of containers so the kids can’t simply compare the waterline.
Place your supplies on a table so everyone can see. Then, choose one container of water and a volunteer. Ask the volunteer whether or not they think the water will fit in the measuring cup, or if it will be too much, or too little, and ask the rest of the class if the agree. Then, ask the volunteer to hold the measuring cup above the tray or bin, and slowly pour the water into the measuring cup. Continue until you have made it through each container of water.
Lesson – Through the Needle’s Eye
Supplies – sewing needle, thread, thick yarn, small piece of woven cloth with raw edges
Raise your hand if you got all of them right. Raise your hand if you got most of them right. Raise your hand if you got half of them right. I think all of you did a fantastic job!
When we were guessing to see what would fit, it was hard to tell on a few of those. It would look like it was going to be a perfect fit, then spill over. But a few of those were really easy to figure out. Those cups had a TON of water in them, and there was absolutely no way it was going to fit. I want to try a few more of these, but they are going to be a little bit different. This time we have hole, and we need to guess if an object can fit through that hole.
Are we ready to play “Can it Fit?”
Before we can begin guessing, we need to have our hole. And here it is, our hole! Can you see it? This hole is really teeny tiny. All the way on this end of the needle there is a little hole. It is so small you probably can’t see it, but I promise you it’s there.
First up, I have a piece of thread. What do you think, can it fit? It fits! Thread is exactly what this hole is made for, so it is a prefect fit.
Next up we have this piece of yarn. It’s a little bit bigger, but it’s still pretty small. So, can it fit?
Nope. It won’t fit. It’s just a little bit too big.
And last up, we have this piece of fabric. What do you think, can it fit? I try, and try, and try, but there is NO WAY this is ever going to fit. It’s just too big.
Jesus actually talked about this in the Bible, only instead of trying to fit yarn and fabric through the hole, He talked about something MUCH bigger.
A rich man came to Jesus one day and asked what he needed to do to be able to get to heaven, and Jesus said he needed to follow the 10 Commandments. The rich man told Jesus he already did that, so Jesus asked him to do one more thing. “Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor.” The rich man wasn’t ready for that answer. Maybe if Jesus wanted him to give a little bit to the poor, but all of it? Everything he owned and worked so hard for? Then he would be even poorer than the poor. The rich man couldn’t do it, and he left very sad and upset.
Then Jesus turned to His disciples, who had all seen what had happened. Jesus told them that it was easier for a camel to fit through the hole of a needle, than for a rich man to make it to heaven. A camel! The huge, tall, animal that likes to spit and lives in the desert. A camel, through this teeny tiny hole. What do you think, can it fit?
Do you want to know why Jesus said it was so hard? The rich man’s greed. Greed is when you love money and things more than you love God and people. And loving God and people is actually what the 10 Commandments are all about.
The disciples didn’t like hearing this. How was anyone supposed to make it to heaven? Why would God want to make it so impossible? But Jesus told them it wasn’t impossible, because with God ALL things are possible. If the rich man would turn to God and allow God to change him, he would make it to heaven. No matter how greedy he was, God could make it possible.
Let’s look at our fabric again. I’m going to try one more time to see if I can make this fit. I mean, didn’t we just say that with God all things are possible?
Still no. It just isn’t going to happen. Unless…
What did we just say about the rich man? What did he need to do in order to make it into heaven? The rich man needed to let God change him.
I wonder if that would work for this fabric. Do you think we could change it somehow and make it fit?
You know, fabric is actually just a whole bunch of thread woven together. And what was the only thing so far to fit through the hole in the needle? Thread! If we were to change it by taking it apart into individual threads, this piece of fabric should make it through that hole. Let’s try it. I’m going to start with a thread from the outside, and I’m going to smooth it out really good. (If it is frayed, dampen the ends to get the fibers to lay down.) Are you ready? Here it goes…
It worked! Let’s do another one.
This is actually working! If we took this whole piece of fabric apart, we would be able to fit the whole thing through the hole in the needle. And it’s still the fabric. We didn’t turn it into mustard, or make it disappear; we changed it, but it’s still the same piece of fabric we started with. It’s just like how God can change the rich man. The rich man is still the same man. If his name was Anthony James and he was 6 feet tall with brown hair and green eyes, even after God changed him, he would still be 6 foot tall Anthony James, with brown hair and green eyes. God just changed his heart to make the impossible, possible.
No one can make it to heaven on their own. Even if they try really hard, follow all the rules, give away their money, and preach all day every day, it is still not enough. Without God, it is impossible to get to heaven. We all have to let God change us, to turn us into who He wants us to be. We will still be the same people, we will just be the kind of person who gets to go to heaven. Because with God all things are possible.
Activity A – Through the Needle’s Eye – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Mark 10:27
Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.
Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.
Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show them if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.
Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.
Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.
Activity B – Through the Needle’s Eye – Nothing is Impossible
Supplies – plain white paper, scissors
Give each child a single piece of paper and a pair of scissors. Give them five minutes to fit through the paper, keeping it a single piece and not using any tape, glue, staples, folds, etc. to hold ends together. While they are working on theirs, take a single piece of paper, fold it in half lengthwise, then alternating sides, make cuts roughly 1 inch apart, stopping roughly 1 inch from the opposite edge. Leaving the ends intact, cut along the fold line.
When the five minutes are up, stretch your paper apart to create a giant ring, and step through it.
Remind the kids that nothing is impossible with God. The piece of paper is still the piece of paper, you just changed it to make it big enough to for you to step through.
Closing Prayer – Through the Needle’s Eye
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask God to change them, so that they can be the person He wants them to be.