Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids to serve others.
Needed: Bibles, various items, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Intro Game: Good and Faithful Servant
Tell the students that you’re going to play a game in which you’re the Master, and they’re your servants. You’re going to name something you want, and they have 15 seconds to bring you what you asked for.
Anything that meets your criteria counts. If a student can’t bring you what you asked for within 15 seconds, they’re out. Items you already have in front of you count if they can apply it to meet the new criteria. The last one in the game wins and becomes the Master for the next round.
Some ideas of what to ask for include:
Something of a certain color
Something of a certain shape
Something that reminds you of the Bible
Something that reminds you of Jesus
Something you would use for a certain purpose
Part of the fun could be naming criteria that a lot of items meet and then narrowing it down to criteria that only a few items in your area meet.
Play 2-3 rounds and then explain that they were all good servants because they all tried to bring you what you asked for. Even though some of them couldn’t find what you wanted, none of them said they wouldn’t do it. They all tried.
Read Matthew 20:20.
“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of Him.”
The mother of James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, came to Jesus to ask Him for a favor. What do you think the favor is that she wants Jesus to do for her?
(Read Matthew 20:21.)
“’What is it you want?’ He asked.
“She said, ‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your kingdom.’”
James and John’s mom wants Jesus to make James and John His second-in-command when He rules the world.
It would be like Jesus sitting on His big throne in the middle and James and John sitting on their little thrones on the right and left of Him. Their mom wants Jesus to let James and John rule the world with Him.
Do you think Jesus will let James and John rule the world with Him?
Would you like to rule the world with Jesus?
(Read Matthew 20:22-23.)
“’You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’
“’We can,’ they answered.
“Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from My cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by My Father.”
Jesus says that James and John can’t rule the world with Him because God has already decided who will rule the world with Jesus. (We don’t know who Jesus is referring to, but a good guess would be Moses and Elijah, as these are the two who converse with Jesus at the Transfiguration.)
Now, if you were the other 10 disciples and you just heard James and John asking to rule the world with Jesus, how would you feel toward James and John?
(Read Matthew 20:24.)
“When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.”
The other 10 disciples were mad at James and John because it wasn’t fair for them to ask to rule the world with Jesus and not have the other 10 rule the world with Jesus too.
(Read Matthew 20:25-27.)
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—“
What does Jesus say you have to do to be great? (You have to serve other people like a servant or a slave.)
That means you have to help people. If you help people, God will think you’re great. God doesn’t care about how much power you have. He cares about if you’re helping other people or not.
(Read Matthew 20:28.)
“’just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.’”
Jesus said He came to serve people. He came to help people. He was God’s Son, and part of God Himself – Jesus is the King of the whole world and the whole universe – but He didn’t want people to serve Him or give Him power. Instead, He wanted to serve other people.
And that’s what Jesus wants us to do too. If Jesus can serve other people, even though He was so great, we can serve and help other people too, and not worry about making other people think that we’re great or giving us power or anything like that.
The most important thing is helping other people, and if we help other people, then God will think we’re great.
Craft: Servant Brainstorming
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw a picture of one thing they can do this week to help someone else. When everyone is finished, have them share their drawings and ideas. Remind students that God doesn’t care how great we are. He cares about how much we help other people.
Game: Good and Faithful Servant
Play the intro game again and remind students that God wants us to serve other people, even when they don’t specifically ask us to do something.
Jesus, we thank You for coming to serve us by dying on the cross and taking the punishment for our sins. We pray that You’ll show us how we can serve other people too. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 2.