What does it Mean to Trust and Obey? Sunday School Lesson on Faith

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            Kids have a difficult time with abstracts. It is understandably challenging to put trust in things that cannot be seen, or to grasp concepts that are not tangible. “The faith of a mustard seed can move mountains”, we might hear. But to the concrete mind of a six-year-old this only conjures a very perplexing image. When discussing faith, it’s best to put in terms that a youngster can potentially comprehend, relating it to how we trust things like families or cars. This lesson highlights Biblical “hall of faith heroes” to emphasize the importance of putting our hope in God.

Lesson focus: Faith means trusting and believing in the greatness of God, and doing what He commands. Faith gives us hope because it assures us of things we have not yet witnessed. We might not always understand what God is doing, but we can still trust that it will be for our best.

Passage: Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-3; 8-16

Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade

Materials Needed: Paper plates, google eyes, crayons/markers, strips of paper, electronic items (cell phone, computer mouse, etc.), blindfold, maze work page.

Lesson Opening: Begin with a few potential “trust” illustration activities. Based on the abilities and unique needs of your group, be wise in selecting the best options:

  • “Trust labyrinth”…blindfold a student and invite them to walk across the room and/or through a maze of articles. They can only use the sound of your voice as a guide (or, if the room is more hazardous, allow them to hold a hand as well as listen). They will have to listen closely and trust your voice!
  • “Trust taste” invite students to close their eyes or place a blindfold on, and open their mouths for a “surprise treat.” They will have to trust that no cockroach candies will be administered.
  • “Faith fall”: allow students to lean backwards (gently) and trust that you will catch them.
  • How does it work? Display several technical items: cell phone, remote control, computer mouse, car key, etc.  Invite discussion as to how these items work. We might not know how exactly the inner workings and mechanisms function, but we can trust that when we plug these items into the wall, they will work, right?

Explain that we will be talking about what it means to have FAITH and trust in something. Sometimes it is difficult and we can’t see what lies ahead, but we can recognize that God is in control.

Bible Lesson:

In the opening activities, we were doing things that required a bit of faith. But what is faith? What does it mean? Allow students to brainstorm what their ideas of “faith” might be, and then invite them to open Bibles to the book of Hebrews:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.  -Hebrews 11:1-3

Well, what does that mean, exactly? Faith is knowing that things are there, even if we cannot see or touch them. Have everyone take a deep breath. Is the air there? Of course. But how do we know? We can’t see the oxygen, but we sure do need it to live. We trust that opening our mouths and inhaling will bring oxygen to our lungs, and it does. How about turning on a light switch? We have faith that flicking the switch will connect and make a light turn on, even if we don’t understand every component of that mechanism. Now, faith in God means that we believe what He says. None of us were there at the formation of the universe, but we have faith that God put it all together. Otherwise it wouldn’t function properly. In the passage here in Hebrews, the author goes on to describe some people who had incredible faith.
Who do you know that demonstrates faith and trust in God? How do they do so? Well, let’s look at some of the Hebrews highlights:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. -Hebrews 11:8-12

Have you ever taken a trip? Maybe a camp-out, or a vacation, or a big move to a new home? How did you get there? Maybe your parents followed a map, or maybe you followed your parents. You probably knew where you were going, though. Abraham had to take a big journey, and he didn’t even have a destination given! All he knew was that God asked him to go, and he went. His faith in what he hadn’t yet seen allowed him to follow God, even without understanding the final destination. And his wife had to have faith, too. She was too old to have kids, but God promised she would have a baby, and she did! Look at verse twelve. What happened because they were faithful? Great things came, and they were able to have many children and descendants. That’s pretty awesome. A lot of times we don’t know what is coming up in our lives. We may get nervous about what is happening next, or we might not be certain of how things will look later on down the road. Having faith means that we know God has our best interests in mind. If we put our faith in Him, great things will happen.
Speaking of which, it is essential that we are putting our faith in something that is worthy of trust. If I asked you to walk around blindfolded or taste something with your eyes closed, you’d probably (hopefully!) believe me, because you know I can be trusted. But you might not put your faith in a random stranger, and rightfully so. Make sure that your faith is in someone who will provide and follow through. When we do that, what rewards are promised? Look at the next part of Hebrews:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

The chapter in Hebrews discusses several people who did amazing faith-filled things, but they didn’t necessarily receive an earthly reward for them. They had something even greater that they could look forward to. This is kind of the hard part. We like to have immediate rewards for things we do. Nobody particularly likes to wait. But with faith, we know that we can wait and receive great things as reward. This world is not ultimately our home. We can have faith in teachers and adults, if we know they are working to help us. And we can have faith that God also is working everything for our good.  Just like Abraham, we can believe good things will come, and trust the Lord, even when it is scary. Re-cap the Old Testament covenant with Abraham, before moving on to craft activities.

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[
    your very great reward.[

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. -Genesis 15:1-6

Abraham did not have any guarantees about what was to come. He didn’t know how God would fulfill these promises, just as we don’t always know what God is going to do in our lives. But we know He promises great things. Whether or not we see that immediately, we know that faith means trusting and believing something. Think about a plant. If you put a seed in a pot or a garden, you’ll likely water it and wait with patience for it to grow. You have faith that sunshine and water will make it blossom into a plant. When we have faith and pray, we can know that God will do great things that blossom into blessings for us!

Craft: Make a frog craft to remind students to FROG—“Fully Rely On God.” Provide each student with a paper plate, and have them color them, encouraging to use green or other froggy colors. Help them fold the plates in half and place google eyes on top, using paper stands if desired to make the eyes more frog-like. Attach cut out legs and a red tongue, curling red paper. Write or attach a caption with the “FROG: Fully Rely on God” acronym and/or a portion of the scripture passage.

Close with prayer and thank God for His amazing gifts and provision in our lives. Ask for help in trusting Him and having faith to follow all that He says.

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