Children’s Bible Lesson: You, Joseph, and Greatness

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The following Children’s Message is intended for grades 1st-6th and was initially utilized for a Christian Elementary School Chapel.  However, it can also be adapted to meet your specific ministry needs. It would serve well as a large group children’s church lesson or even with your kids Sunday School class.
Lesson Plan Focus: Children often get asked the following question:  What do you want to be when you grow up?  While it is good for children to have dreams and to pursue them, it’s also imperative that we teach our children that they are of great value now.  This message teaches children to reflect on their character now.  It utilizes Joseph as an example of greatness.
Before the Lesson: Announce to the students ahead of time that you would like for them to come dressed as who they want to be when they grow up.  Give examples to spur thinking.  Send home a note to the parents as a reminder.
Try to come dressed in costume yourself – either who you wanted to be when you grew up or who you are now.
The Bible Lesson:
Who do we have here today?  I see we have some teachers, a fireman, doctors, soldiers, athletes, veterinarians, mechanics, carpenters, mommies… (Invite children to share what they are dressed as.) It looks like we have some amazing people here today.  It is so nice to meet you all!
Can you guess who I wanted to be when I grew up?  Here are some clues.  (When I did this lesson I brought props as clues:  a tutu -ballerina, a globe – teacher, and a baby – mommy.)
I am so proud of each of you for wanting to be someone special when you grow up.  Please tell me that you will all work hard to be the best that you can be.  Repeat after me:  I will work hard to be the best that I can be.  (again and again)
Hard work is very important.  But, it isn’t everything.  TRULY GREAT PEOPLE HAVE TWO THINGS IN COMMON:

  1. They Love God.
  2. They Love People.

If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Mark 12:30.  Right before this verse, one of the Pharisees (a religious guy) asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?  (12:28) Mark 12:30 is his answer.  Let’s read it together.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
(Repeat the verse 2 more times, using sign language to facilitate their memory.)
Jesus says that loving Him is the most important thing that you can do in your life.  What else is important?  Look with me at Mark 12:31.  It says:
The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.
(Repeat this verse 2 more times, using sign language again.)

  1. They Love God.
  2. They Love People.

So, let’s think about this:
If you can score a winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, does that make you great?  (No.  It makes you a great football player, but not necessarily a great person.)
If you come up with a cure for a terrible disease, does that make you great?  (No.  It makes you a great scientist and your discovery will mean great things for so many people.  But, it doesn’t necessarily make you a great person.)
If you become a famous actor or actress and everyone goes to see your movies, does that make you great?  (No.  It means you are great at acting.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you are a great person.)
If you are who you are now and you love Jesus and those around you, does that make you great?  (YES!!!!!!!!)  It makes you a GREAT PERSON NOW.  Not when you grow older, but now.
You know, sometimes people don’t believe that kids can be GREAT NOW.  The disciples sure didn’t.  When a bunch of children came up to Jesus, the disciples wanted to send them away.  Maybe they were loud, obnoxious, had too much energy, had eaten fifty too many candy bars… But Jesus says in Matthew 19:14:
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
Jesus believes in YOU.  He believes that you can be GREAT NOW.  I believe in you too.  Truly great people have what 2 things in common?

  1. They Love God.
  2. The Love People.

Let’s look at someone in the Bible who was a great person.  Joseph was great because he loved God and people.  He probably had great dreams of who he wanted to be when he grew up.  In fact, I know he did!  He was a dreamer, remember?  Here’s a quick review of Joseph’s life.  (You may or may not want to use props as tools for memory and to keep students engaged.  Prop suggestions are in parenthesis.  When I did this lesson, I invited a student up to be Joseph, put a robe on him, and had him act everything out.)
1.  At 17, he is a shepherd.  He takes care of sheep (stuffed animal sheep).  His Dad loves him.  His brothers hate him (Fancy robe).  His brothers plan to kill him, but at the last-minute decide to sell him (money).  Aren’t they kind?
But the Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.  – Genesis 39:2
2.  Joseph ends up in Potipher’s house – a really important Egyptian leader.    Pretty soon, Joseph is in charge of everything because God blesses whatever He does (Flex muscles.)  But, then Potipher’s wife lies about him and he ends up in jail (handcuffs or rope to tie wrists).
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him.  – Genesis 39:21a
3.  So, he is put in charge of everything in the prison.  God gives Joseph success in whatever he does (Thumbs up).  Then people have these dreams, he tells them what they mean, and they come true.  Two years go by in prison (Look at watch, fiddle thumbs.)  Then Pharaoh has a dream and Joseph is asked to interpret it.  Joseph tells Pharaoh the dream.  Pharaoh thinks he’s awesome and gets him out of jail.  (Loud cheers!)  Not only that, but Pharaoh says this about him and gives him a ring:
Can we find anyone like this man, in whom is the Spirit of God?   Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.  You shall be in charge of my palace, and all of my people are to submit to your orders.  Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.  – Genesis 41:38-40
4.  Joseph is in charge of Egypt.  There are seven years of lots of food.  (cereal, apples, pop tarts)  Joseph saves it all up.  Then there are seven years of famine – no food.  People from all over go to Pharaoh begging for food.  Joseph feeds many (distribute food).  His own brothers come to buy food.  Long story short:  They don’t know who he is at first.  He could have sent them away hungry.  Instead, he forgives them, loves them, and even ends up saving them.  It’s a happy ending because of forgiveness.  (If an actor plays Joseph, give him a round of applause.)

  1. He Loved God.  (And God was with Him through good times and bad times.)
  2. He Loved People.  (His dad, brothers, leaders, prisoners, workers, everyone!)

Each of you can live a great story too.  Each of you can be great.  Not ONLY great when you grow up, but NOW.  Remind me one more time.  How can you live a great story now?

  1. We Can Love God.
  2. We Can Love People.

Close in prayer.

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