"Ready, Set, Wait!" Sunday School Lesson from Matthew 25:1-13 on Thankfulness

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"Ready, Set, Wait!"  Lectionary Lesson from Matthew 25:1-13
This free Bible lesson is based on Matthew 25:1-13 where Jesus tells ‘The Parable of the Ten Virgins”.  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 A – 22nd Sunday After Pentecost, Gospel Reading – Matthew 25:1-13.
Opening Activity – Ready, Set, Wait! – Decisions
Choose 5 volunteers to come forward and pick one of the following.

  1. Skydiving
  2. Running
  3. Stretching
  4. Reading
  5. Standing

Line the kids up across the front of the room, with number 1 the furthest to your right, and 5 the furthest to your left.
*This activity continues through the following lesson.*
Lesson – Ready, Set, Wait!
On the count of three, I want our volunteers to strike a pose like your activity.  And you have stay perfectly still, cause we are posing, not acting.
Let’s count together.  One.  Two.  THREE!
Awesome job you guys!  Now don’t move.  Stay still for just a little bit.
Now it’s time for everyone to try.  Everyone is going to have to try to hold a pose through the whole lesson.  First I need you to get up and move so you are in front of the pose you like best.  Now on three, you need to make the exact same pose.  Count with me.  One.  Two.  THREE!
Great job everyone!  Now remember, you have to stay completely still.  No wiggling, no rearranging, no anything!  If I point at you, that means you have to go sit down.  Now let’s see if you can stay still like this for the whole lesson.  But no worries, this will be quick.  One of the shortest lessons I have ever done!  I mean, it will only last a second or two.  So hold still and let’s get started.
I feel like you probably already know that Jesus likes to tell Parables.  But, you know what, since this lesson is soooooo short, I think I have time to say a little something about what they are.  Parables were stories Jesus used to help Him teach.  Jesus knew some things were difficult to understand, so when He needed to teach those difficult things, He told a story to help explain it.
So now about this parable…  Hold on a second,  I lost my spot on the page…  I’m looking…  I’m looking… Found it!
Back on track.  In this parable there was a groom preparing for his wedding.  And it was going to be a spectacular wedding too!  I bet they had a humongous cake!  With yummy turkey and mashed potatoes for dinner.  And you can’t forget about the cheese.  I mean, the Bible doesn’t say anything about cake and turkey and cheese, but I feel sure they had it there.
So the groom was preparing for his wedding… Flowers!  How could I forget about the flowers?!?  I mean, I have never been to a wedding that didn’t have flowers.  I wonder what color he was using?  I think pink would be nice, but of course that depends on the time of year.  I mean, if it was winter time I think red or a dark purple would be even better.  I can almost smell them!
So the groom was preparing for the wedding.  He had his cake and his turkey.  He had his flowers and fancy new clothes.  Which I feel sure were navy blue.  It just feels right, don’t you think?  Maybe with some brown sandals?  And cologne, of course.
Everyone was waiting outside, ready to be let in any minute now.  There were rich people and poor people.  Young people and old people.  Tall people and short people.  People wearing brown and white and green and red and black and blue.  I bet some of the rich people even had on jewelry.  Gold jewelry with giant rubies.  Gold necklaces, rings, bracelets, anklets, and maybe even a crown or two.
Now where were we…  Yes, all the people waiting outside.  They waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited…  {yawn}  and waited and waited and waited waited…  and…
Oh my!  I almost fell asleep!  The wedding guests are the ones who are supposed to fall asleep; not me!
So all those guests, short and tall, rich and poor, old and young, waited.  The groom took much longer than they expected and before they knew it, it was super late and super dark out.  So late that people started to fall asleep all over the place.  They spread out all over town, sleeping anywhere they could find a spot.  I’m sure they couldn’t have been very comfortable, but it was just so late, it didn’t matter.
But in the middle of the night, the groom became ready.  The dinner was ready.  The cake was ready.  The flowers were ready.  The clothes were ready.  It was finally time!
Word went out quickly and everyone lit their lamps so they could make the journey back to the wedding.  There was just one problem; some people didn’t have oil to light their lamp.  And without that, they wouldn’t be able to make it to the wedding in the super dark night.
Everyone who already had oil went directly to the wedding and the groom welcomed them in.  Jesus called them ‘wise’, because they thought ahead, and not just about the moment.  They were prepared no matter what was going to happen, and they were rewarded for it.  These are the people we are supposed to try to be like.
But all of those who didn’t have the oil they needed had to try to get some.  But it took them too long.  By the time they made it to the wedding, it was too late.  The doors were closed and they couldn’t get in.  These were the people Jesus called ‘foolish’ and said we shouldn’t be like.  They didn’t think ahead at all.  By the time they were ready, it was too late.  They weren’t prepared and they missed out.
You might think missing a wedding is no big deal, but remember this was a parable.  Jesus wasn’t talking about a wedding, He was talking about Heaven.  And missing out on Heaven is a super huge big deal!  We never know when it will be time to go to Heaven, so we need to make sure we are ready all the time, no matter what.
Now, let’s see who is still standing.  Was it hard to hold those poses?  I know it’s not easy, especially when the time just keeps going and going and going.  Are you glad you chose the pose that you did?  Some of those poses were so crazy, it was almost impossible to stay still.  But there were also poses that were a lot easier and almost everyone was able to make it to the end!  Those kids chose wisely didn’t they?  They made a wise choice which made it possible for them to make it to the end.
What do you think is the most important wise choice we can make so we can go to Heaven to see Jesus?  To ask Jesus to live in our heart!  That is the most important wise choice of all time.  We don’t want to miss out on Heaven, so we have to make sure we are prepared, and we need to do it now.  We don’t know when it will be time, but we sure don’t want to miss it!
Activity A – Ready, Set, Wait! – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Matthew 25:13
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.

Activity B – Ready, Set, Wait! – My Lantern is Ready
Supplies – construction paper, scissors, tape, glue sticks, rules, writing/drawing utensils
Make paper lanterns following the step below.  Then invite the kids to decorate them and write Matthew 25:13 on the handle.

  1. Cut off a one inch strip from the short end of the construction paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half, matching the two long ends
  3. Starting on the fold, cut slats roughly 1 inch apart from each other, and ending 1-2 inches from the edge.
  4. Unfold the paper.
  5. Match the short ends of the paper together and tape or glue them together
  6. Attach the handle to the top with tape.
  7. Decorate.

Closing Prayer – Ready, Set, Wait!
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask God to help everyone be ready to go see Him in heaven.

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