- All believers are recipients of God’s riches in Christ.
- We should be grateful for God’s generosity toward us.
Our shortsighted tendency is to only value others for what they can accomplish for us, or how they can benefit us. The world reveres those who have wealth and have influence. In Matthew 19 Jesus debunks the perceived merit of wealth and influence; firstly by inviting the children to come to him and then by stating how hard it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom. He goes on to tell the parable of the generous Master, showing that God loves all people and graciously offers grace and kindness to everyone who responds to his invitation, not just those who are esteemed in the eyes of the world.
“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.””
– Matthew 19.14 (NET)
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.
You will need chocolate coins for this. Announce to the children that everyone is going to get a packet of Fruit Snack (or some other simple treat) and that they need to get in line. There will be a rush of kids wanting to get in line first to get their Fruit Snack first. Have another volunteer start handing out the Fruit Snacks from the back of the line. Tell the kids that today we’ll be learning about the first being last and the last being first.
Gather the children for the lesson. If necessary, give them time to finish their snack so that they aren’t distracted.
Read the parable from Matt. 20.1-16. Stop along the way to explain these points:
- v.1; People who needed work would go to the market place. At harvest time more workers were required to work in the vineyards.
- v.2; A denarius was a silver coin and a fair daily wage.
- v.3; Third hour = 9am
- v.5; The workers trusted the master of the vineyard. Sixth hour = midday, ninth hour = 3pm.
- v.6; The eleventh = 5pm (pretty much the end of the work day).
Prayer: Thank God for his great generosity toward us.
- What agreement did the master make with the first workers he hired?
- Why do you think he went back to the market?
- What did he do when he saw more workers standing there?
- Do you think it’s unfair that the master gave everyone a days wages?
Craft Idea (Grape bunch)
Supplies: Cotton balls, purple paint, paper.
- Fill palette with paint
- Dip cotton ball into paint and stamp grapes onto paper
- Glue stems and leaves
- Each child could be given a chocolate coin when they’re done
Note: One dip into the paint should make lots of grapes. It might be least chaotic if an adult volunteer holds paint and makes rounds for dipping.
Game (Clothes Pin Give Away)
Supplies: Clothes Pins.
How to Play: Hand each player four clothespins or four long pieces of tape and explain that in this tag-like game, players are trying to pin their 4 pins (or pieces of tape) onto the clothes of the other players. They should aim for shoes, pants or skirts or shirt sleeves (but not on others backs). Tell the kids the object of the game is to get rid of as many pins/pieces of tape and to receive as few as possible in the allotted time (usually 2 minutes). Point out that they can only clip/tape one at a time and to only one player, but can return later to add another clothespin. The winner at the end will have the least amount of pins or tape on them.
“He who has the least shall be first and he who has the most shall be last!”
Featured Image Credit: The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, by Patrick Paearz de Wet, mid-17th century