Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids that serving others is a way of serving Jesus.
Needed: Bibles, dice, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Intro Game: Raising the Dice
Divide students into two teams or more teams and give each time a six-sided die. The first student from each team runs up to a table and rolls their dice. The student with the highest roll gets a point for their team.
The trick is that each team can help their player. As the students are rolling their dice, the teams cheer. The team that’s the loudest gets to add one number to their player’s die roll. So, if Team A’s player rolls a 3, but their team is cheering the loudest, you’ll count that player’s roll as a 4.
Students re-roll in case of a tie, but only if the tie occurs after you add the cheering bonus.
After the first two students roll and you determine who gets the point, those students run back to their teams, hand off their dice, and the next students run up. The team with the most points after everyone has rolled wins.
Explain that it’s important to help each other.
Ask students, If you believe in Jesus, what kinds of things are you supposed to do?
Sometimes, we think that the only things Christians are supposed to do are read our Bibles, go to church, pray, and not do bad things. But there’s something else we’re supposed to do if we believe in Jesus.
(Read Matthew 25:31-40.)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’”
So, Jesus says that when He comes back, He will sit on a throne and will judge whether people did the right things or the wrong things.
What were the right things that some of the people did in this story? (They helped other people. They gave people food, they were nice to strangers, they gave clothes to people who didn’t have any money, and they visited people who were sick or in jail.)
The people who did the right things by helping other people will get to live in the new world that Jesus will create.
God likes it when we help other people. And Jesus says that if we help other people, then it’s like we’re helping Jesus Himself.
(Read Matthew 25:41-46.)
“Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help You?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
These people did not do the right things. What kinds of things didn’t they do? (They didn’t help people. They didn’t give people food or clothes when they needed it, they weren’t nice to strangers, and they didn’t visit people who were sick or in jail.)
And where did these people go? (They went to Hell.)
So, Jesus is saying that if we really want to be His followers, and if we really want to go to live forever with Him, then we have to help other people. Jesus helped other people when He was alive on earth, so if we believe in Jesus, we have to help other people too.
Game: Reaching Out Relay
Divide students into two teams and have them line up at one side of the room. When you say, “Go!” the first student from each team will act run to the end of the room, then back to their team, acting out the appropriate motion. The second team member then does the same thing and so on. The first team to complete all legs of the race wins.
Leg 1. Hungry. Pretend to cook and pass out food.
Leg 2. Thirsty. Pretend to pour cups of water and hand them out.
Leg 3. Stranger. Pretend to motion people toward you, inviting them in.
Leg 4. Clothes. Pretend to pass out clothes.
Leg 5. Sick. Pretend to take care of someone who is sick.
Leg 6. Prisoner. Pretend to visit someone in jail.
Craft: How Can I Help?
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw pictures of how they could help someone. Ask them to focus on the areas Jesus mentions in the parable: helping the poor, caring for others, and visiting the lonely.
When everyone is finished, have them explain their drawings to the class.
Jesus, we thank You that You’re a good God who cares about other people. Help us to serve You by helping other people in need. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 2.