Trees Planted by Water… Children’s Message on Spiritual Growth and Health – This message encourages children to stay closely connected to God in order to thrive and grow. Passages from both Psalms and Jeremiah reflect on tree metaphors, noting how relying on God’s law and love nourishes and strengthens us. The message uses examples of withering and healthy plants to demonstrate the contrast in the natural world. In our spiritual lives, we flourish and thrive when we focus not on our own understanding, but on God.
Law/Gospel Theme: Using tree metaphors provides us with a beautiful reminder that it is God who works in and through us to do His will. A tree does not need to go to great lengths to soak up nourishment and produce fruit. It just has to be planted in the right place and receive water. So we, as Christians, do not have to somehow work hard to bear spiritual fruit and “earn” salvation. We just remember that we are to rely on God alone for all things, trusting not our own deceitful hearts, but in His love and strength.
Optional Materials: Pictures of (or real examples of) plants, both healthy and dry or dying.
Bible Passage: Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:5-10
More Children’s Ministry Lesson Ideas:
- Watch the video of this children’s sermon and related Bible craft ideas
- Download our Jeremiah Bible coloring page and Psalm 1 Coloring Book
- Don’t miss our new list of short Bible verses for children and Bible Trivia Questions
- Compare our full-length Sunday School Bible Lesson on Trees by Living Water
Children’s Sermon Lesson (Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:5-10) Trees Planted by Water
Greet children, holding pictures of trees, and/or examples of healthy and withering plants.
Hello, children of God! Well, I’ll be honest: I’m not very great at keeping plants healthy. Sometimes people give me flowers or plants as presents, which is very nice, except that I can never seem to keep them alive very long. Do you know the difference between a healthy plant and one that’s a bit more dried out? I’ll let you take a look at these: which one do you think looks healthier? (Hold up plant examples, if you have them. If not, hold up the pictures of the trees, one obviously healthy and the other dried out.) How can you tell the differences? The trees/plants which are close to the water stay much healthier. They are able to soak up the nutrition that they need to grow. They have good soil and roots, and being near plenty of water allows them to produce fruit and remain strong and healthy. If plants don’t get enough water, they wither up and shrivel up and eventually die.
Did you know that the Bible uses a lot of plant imagery to remind us of the importance of being spiritually healthy? God’s Word talks a lot about being like a flourishing tree. In the first Psalm, we read that people who love God and meditate on His Word are like trees planted by water and producing fruit. The prophet Jeremiah said something similar: he described how people who try to trust in themselves are like dry shrubs. They don’t have enough nourishment to grow and produce anything. When we abandon God and don’t recognize His hand in our lives, we shrivel up spiritually.
When we focus on what God has done for us, and when we consider His love for us and stay rooted in Scripture, it’s like being healthy trees. Our lives can bear “fruit” through the Holy Spirit. God’s power gives us strength and allows us to be loving, kind, patient, joyful, faithful, gentle, peaceful, good, and self-controlled! God gives us wisdom as we pray and study His word. You know what’s really neat? All of the power comes from God. Jeremiah says that we shouldn’t trust in our own hearts, but lean on God for all things. This is like those trees planted by water, too. A tree doesn’t have to do anything special to grow; it just has to have a good location and remain rooted in what nourishes it. We don’t have to make ourselves better or rely on our own power in order for the Holy Spirit to work in us. We simply recognize that God does the heavy lifting, and trust in Him for hope and strength. God knows our hearts, and He promises to take care of us and allow us to grow in Him. What a beautiful picture of our health as people of God. Root yourself in Him, and grow solid like a tree!
Let’s pray and recognize that we are “watered” in Christ:
Prayer to finish the Lesson:
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for giving us strength
Help us to stay close to you
So that we can grow and flourish
Thank you for rooting us in your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference for this children’s sermon lesson
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. -Psalm 1:1-6
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.” -Jeremiah 17:5-10