This message aims to describe for children what wisdom means and where it comes from. Young people might think of wisdom as mere knowledge or “head smarts”, but true wisdom comes from the heart. Wisdom is something that we should desire because God wants us to have it and practice using it. The message uses practical objects and misconceptions to elaborate on what wisdom is.
Law/Gospel Theme: God wants us to act as wise and not foolish people. However, He gives us the tools to do so, if only we ask. True wisdom comes from recognizing that all we have comes from the Lord, and that who we are is found in Christ. We are not wise because we know a lot of book information or because we think we’re better than others. We can be wise because Jesus lives in us. He promises His presence, and when we read God’s word and pray, we can discern wise choices for our lives.
Optional Materials: Books, glasses or “smart-looking” tools, items representing wise and foolish options of things (food choices, toys, etc.).
Bible Passage: 1 Kings 3:3-14; Ephesians 5:15-21
Message Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs. There are a couple of elements used within this example, but it might be best to choose one to highlight.
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video of this children’s sermon and related craft ideas on our website
- Download the complete Ephesians 5:15-21 Sunday School Lesson
- Compare another Sunday School Lesson from Ephesians 5
Children’s Sermon: Wise Up!
Greet the children and begin with the question King Solomon was asked…
Hello, children of God!
If you could ask for anything in the world, what do you think you would want? Let’s say you were given one wish (and no wishing for more wishes!)…what would you ask for? Toys? Talent? Money? A big fancy house? How about…wisdom? Do you think you’d want to ask for that?
Well, what is wisdom, anyway? How can we become wise? If I look or act smart, and I know important things, does that make me wise? Like, let’s say I have thick glasses, and a lot of books (use props if you have them, putting on glasses and pulling over a stack of textbooks), and maybe I read some very fancy-sounding facts and information. Is that wisdom? Well, not really…you see, wisdom is not about what you know, but Who you know. Wisdom is about our ability to use our minds in ways that help us serve God and make good decisions.
How do we do that? How do we make positive choices? For instance, let’s say that I need to decide between a candy bar (hold up props) or a piece of fruit here. Which choice might be wise? The candy sounds very appealing and fun in the moment…but we probably know that it would not be the most healthful choice in the long run. Wisdom could help me see that the fruit is a better option. But there are much harder and more important decisions that will come our way in life. Wisdom is about what we call “discernment,” being able to tell what might be a better or worse choice for us.
God wants us to be wise. The Bible tells us that we should not act foolishly or make choices too quickly, but we should use wisdom. The Old Testament tells us of a man named Solomon. Solomon was King David’s son, and he took over as king after David died. One night, God came to Solomon in a dream. He offered Solomon anything he wanted. Now, the king could have requested treasure, or a herd of llamas, or a room full of candy. But do you know what he requested? He told God that he wanted wisdom. He knew being king would be challenging and he wanted to make good choices to rule the people well. So he asked God for wisdom. God liked that answer. In fact, He told Solomon that he would get wisdom, and also have riches and beautiful things. God wanted Solomon to want wisdom. Unfortunately, Solomon made some mistakes later on down the line. He started getting a little too caught up in his riches and his relationships, and he forgot where all of that wisdom and treasure came from. It came from God. When he tried relying on himself instead of God, things slid downhill.
And we can ask God for wisdom, too! He wants to hear from us as His dear children. He promises to be present with us and to give us what we need, including wisdom to make good decisions. True wisdom does not come from a textbook, but from the good book, THE book, the Bible. It contains the very words of God. He gives us wisdom through the pages of Scripture, and through what Jesus taught and did. He gives us wisdom when we are willing to pray and to listen. We have a lot of challenges and choices in life, but we can rely on God for strength and for discernment!
Let’s say a prayer to ask for God’s help as we seek His wisdom in discerning choices.
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for giving us what we need
Help us to look to you for wisdom
To make good decisions and have discernment
Help us make wise choices in our lives
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. 4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”.
-1 Kings 3:3-14
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. -Ephesians 5:15-21