Wisdom is Foolishness and Weak Becomes Strong…How the message of the cross goes against traditional ideas…
As Christians, we know that our value is in much different things than what the world tends to judge as important. Sometimes we want to brag or think that our faith is our own doing. But the Bible makes it clear that God lifts up those who are weak and brings low those who seem strong. This Sunday School lesson emphasizes that our identity, worth, and boasting are in Christ alone.
Lesson focus: The more we think we are special and try to brag about our own strength, the less of it we have. Our value comes from loving Jesus and choosing Him as our savior and wisdom.
Passage: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Play-doh, markers/decorative materials, trophy template; magazines or pictures with celebrities; verse labels.
Optional: Download our 1 Corinthians Coloring Page
What makes you special? Start out with a creative art activity of sorts…have students take a chunk of Play-doh and mold it into something that they are talented in doing. If you prefer, you may choose to use a dry-erase board or paper to draw on…give children a couple minutes to create their “boasting” talent. Go around and have students explain what they made. Then, pull a slight shocker by smashing (or having students tear/break) the creations. Explain that we are going to talk about what really makes us great.
Who is the greatest? Chat a bit with kids about famous or important people. Who are the best sports stars? Movie stars? Political gurus? Think about those types of people and how they act. Show a few pictures of haughty or cocky figures in society. Consider especially politicians or extra wealthy figures. There are things that might seem silly to us when we see big names acting them out, and yet we tend to have our own pride get in the way all too often. Invite students to complete a simple task: writing their name, jumping on one foot, etc…then enforce a handicap (blindfold, hands tied, etc.). It’s not so easy to do “simple” things when our ease and pride go away…
We do this in life sometimes too. We try to brag about our abilities or imagine that on our own we can take care of ourselves, but it’s just not true!
Invite students to open Bibles to 1 Corinthians 1. Go around for “popcorn” reading turns, or read the passage out loud yourself (feel free to pause at points or wait for discussion at the end)…
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Talk with kids about what it means to boast. When we started off with the creation activity, we were asked to brag/boast about what we do well. We do this sometimes, purposely or just because. We put other people up on a pedestal for their “human strength” and value things that are genuinely petty in the long run and big picture…how can we make sure our focus and emphasis are on things that matter?
Our whole being should be found in Christ. Our value, boasting, and joy can come only from Him. Remember that our identity can be placed in several things in our mind’s eye, but ultimately there is only one hero who is worthy of boasting, and only one thing that gives us power. All of the positive skills or attributes we might have ultimately come from Him. When we remember that, God will honor our humility and raise us up again.
The Old and New Testament are teeming with other examples of great passages highlighting and emphasizing the importance of a humble spirit. Here are just a few to browse…
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. -Jeremiah 9:23-24
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:9-10
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. –Psalm 18:27
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. –James 4:10
The true winner… have students decorate a “trophy” template, and cut out if necessary (can be on card stock, cardboard, etc.). Attach memory verse:
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. -1 Corinthians 1:25
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank God for loving us and ask that we would have positive and humble spirits when we work for Him.