There are times when a life-changing opportunity comes your way that would be foolish to pass up. Jesus uses two examples of people coming across items of untold value and then trading everything they had to lay hold of those things. There is nothing as valuable or important as accepting Jesus as our king and faithfully following him. When we understand the value of the kingdom we see everything as an opportunity to see God’s kingdom come. We want our children to understand that following Jesus affects every area of their lives!
- Nothing is more valuable or more important than God’s kingdom.
- Jesus gave everything so that we could have relationship with God.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
– Matthew 6.20 (NIV)
If you’re doing this lesson as part of a series, then explain to the kids that each week you’re looking at a different parable that Jesus told. Explain that a parable is a story told to help people understand something about God’s kingdom.
Have a bag with assorted plastic pearls in it. Make sure that there are as many pearls as there are children but have only one extra large pearl in the bag to represent the pearl of great price. Let each of the kids stick their hand into the bag and draw out a pearl. Let each of the kids show their pearls and make a big deal about how pretty the pearls are.
“These pearls are really beautiful, but one of them is worth more than all the others. Which one do you think it is?” The kids will probably recognize by now that one is bigger than the rest. Tell the kids that you have a bag of fruit snacks (or a similar treat) to trade for one of the pearls. Which one would you want to buy? The biggest one! Trade a bag of fruit snacks for the pearl. As soon as you make the trade though have one of the other volunteers in the room trade you ten bags of fruit snacks for the pearl.
“Wow, did you think that the little pearl was worth that much? Sometimes there’s hidden value in things – value that we don’t immediately recognize. Sometimes we know that something is valuable, just like the pearl but we don’t realize just how valuable it is! What do you kids think the most valuable thing is?” [Let them respond] “Those things are all really valuable but did you know that the most valuable thing is our relationship with God?”
Read the parable from Matt. 13.44-46, explaining any words that the children might struggle with along the way.
Do you guys see how there was hidden value that people didn’t see? Remember how I told you that there are some things that are very valuable but you wouldn’t really know it? Did you all know that there is a teddy bear in the world that costs two million dollars?! Isn’t that crazy? Imagine you had the opportunity to buy the teddy bear for two hundred dollars, but you only had twenty dollars. What would you do? Well, if you were smart, you would break your piggy bank for more money and borrow money from your parents and sell every single toy you have. Then you would go back, buy the toy for two hundred dollars and then sell the toy for two million. Would you be rich? Yeah you would!!
If you sold everything you had to buy the expensive toy, then you would be just like the men in the stories, who sold everything they had to get a more expensive treasure. But why did Jesus tell us this story? Well, Jesus was trying to tell us how important it is to follow him as our king. Nothing is more important than our relationship with God. If we say that Jesus is our king that means that we give every part of our lives to him not just some parts of our lives. That includes the way we talk, the way we think, the way we act. It includes when we’re at home, when we’re at school, when we’re at a friends house, when we’re at the park. Jesus is our king in every area of our lives!
Here’s an example: Willow has decided to follow Jesus and he prays and goes to church, but when he plays baseball he says mean things to his team mate Joshua when Joshua strikes out or doesn’t play well. What does Willow see as most valuable: winning the game or showing love and kindness? Is Willow letting Jesus be his king when he plays baseball?
Here’s another example: Rachel loves Jesus and behaves herself at home and listens to her parents. One weekend she has a sleepover at Sage’s house and Sage wants to watch a movie that Rachel knows her parents wouldn’t want her to watch. Sage tells her that her parents would never find out. Rachel knows that Jesus would want her to keep her mind and her thoughts pure and she says no. What was more important to Rachel: doing what her friend wanted or putting Jesus first?
Jesus told his followers to first seek the kingdom of God. That’s the greatest treasure there is. When kids like Willow and Rachel decide to put Jesus first, it’s like they’re trading their own desires for the most valuable treasure ever!
Prayer: Acknowledge that God made everything and that he is a good king ruling over everything with justice and love. Thank Jesus that he has made a treasure available to us. Pray that the children would see how valuable their relationship with God is.
- What did the man do when he found treasure buried in the field?
- Why did he buy the field?
- What did the merchant do when he found a pearl of great value?
- How can you be like the merchant?
Craft Idea 1 (Pearl bracelet)
Supplies: Pony beads, pipe cleaner.
To remind students that Heaven is like a precious pearl, make beaded bracelets. To make the bracelets, give each child a pipe cleaner and a bowl of pony beads. Supervise the children closely when they are using the beads to make sure that they don’t try to put them in their mouths. Have the children string the beads onto the pipe cleaner and twist the ends together when they are done.
Craft Idea 2 (Pearl in a clam)
Supplies: Pearls, paper plates, markers, pink tissue paper.
Fold a paper plate in half for each of the children. Let them color the outside blue and stick crumpled pink tissue paper inside as a bed for the pearl. Stick their pearl onto the bed of tissue paper.
Image Credit: Parable of the Pearl by Andrei Mironov