For children, it sometimes seems that life meaning and purpose are a long way off, and that only adulthood brings significance. But God promises that all of us have a special job to do. He has planned out our lives before we were even born! Prophets are not always widely studied in basic Sunday school classes, but looking at these ancient proclaimers provides important insight that emphasizes God’s power and control in our lives. This lesson takes a peek at the call of Jeremiah, and stresses how God makes anything possible for us when we are willing to listen.
Lesson focus: God has a plan and purpose for each life He created. Even though we have doubts and fears, God will help us to complete His work.
Passage: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Empty cans or containers; decorative materials, pictures and verses
Lesson Opening: You CAN…how hard is it? Present students with a challenge: Provide each one with a plastic drinking straw and a cup. Depending on the size of the group, you may have them run back and forth to a table, or pass items around, but explain that the goal is to put things into the cup using only the straw (no reaching in with fingers). Items may include things like paper, cotton balls, peas, skittles, or M&Ms. See if students can devise ways to pick up the items using the straw. Note: there is no rule that says kids can’t bend the straw and use like tweezers…see how much students can do, and demonstrate if necessary. Explain that today we will be talking about how we can do hard things.
Bible Lesson: What will you do when you get older? Take a minute to discuss with students what goals they may have for adulthood. What does it mean to be a “grown-up” and what do students want? Explain that in the Bible, God called people to do important things for Him. Today we are talking about a man named Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet, someone who God picked out to tell people about Him. God told Jeremiah He had a job to do:
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:4-5
God tells Jeremiah that He knew the man before He was even born. Well, it’s the same for us! God knows us and calls us by name. Jeremiah, though, has his doubts…
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:6-10
Ask students about challenges in life. What are difficulties that face us? Jeremiah here thinks he is too young to impact people. Are there things we are too young to do? What are some things people have told you are impossible? Consider God’s response to Jeremiah. First, He chastises his doubt. God knows what we really need and what we really can do. If HE tells us something is happening, it is for real! There’s nothing impossible with prayer and faith. No one knows us like He does, because He made us and planned us for very special jobs.
Craft: Make a “can can” to help students remember God’s strength provides for us in all circumstances. Provide each student with an empty canister (coffee, oats, etc) and allow time to decorate the outside of the can. Inside the can, students can place items to remind them of God’s presence and faithfulness. They can also add prayer requests or worries of their own, in a display of casting cares on God. For older students, this might mean providing slips of paper and/or written Bible verses. For younger students, the can may hold pictures, stickers, or simple words.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank God for reminding us that He is in control of all circumstances, and ask for help in completing the missions He gives us.