Focus Passage: II Samuel 23: 1-7
Memory Verse: “One who rules justly is like the light of the morning, like the sun rising.”
Items for Preparation
-gather any items that a teacher, scout leader, coach, or music leader might use. You want anything that gives the feeling that the person holding that item would be the leader, the person responsible and in charge. Use whatever your group of children might immediately recognize.
Read the adult lesson in Baptists Today and additional material at Nurturing Faith online. We know that David was a fallible person who, despite his many vices and failures, also did great things for his kingdom, and is part of the lineage of Jesus. The beautiful passage today is a good opportunity to discuss the idea of using wisdom, compassion and fairness when we are in the position of ruling or having responsibility for other people.
If you are interested in bringing in a bit of history to your sermon today, it is the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Since many congregation members may not view Mr. Kennedy as a fair and good ruler, be careful if you allude to this anniversary, that you do not express political ideas. Focus rather on the way people feel when we are governed well, how we long for strong leadership, and how important a good leader is. Kennedy’s importance as a leader was brought into painful relief at his death, regardless of the political positions of Americans. All mourned because of the truth of our passage today – we need good leaders who project light, strength and hope for us.
[Display your leadership items so that children can see them well. Answer questions if they aren’t sure what you have. In your answers, make sure to say that this person is a leader, and the item helps them do their job of being responsible and in charge.]
Say: We heard a beautiful passage about a special kind of person today, a person who is a good leader. I want to ask you to think of a person you know who is a good leader. Think of the teacher in your class, or the coach of your team, your music director, or your scout leader. Can you think of people who are leaders? Who comes to your mind? [Allow for answers.]
[Now put on a sly facial expression and move a bit closer to your children, and speak in a more confidential tone.]
Say: Now, tell me, have you ever been in a group that had a leader who was, well, not very good? How does it feel when your leader is not sure what is supposed to happen? How does it feel when your leader doesn’t care whether things are working right for you? How does it feel if your leader is just looooooking out into the sky, and texting on their cell phone, and listening to music, and not paying attention to your group, and just not leading? How is that? [Allow for answers. Try to mitigate the responses that could be used to incriminate anyone actually sitting there in the sanctuary with you. It is okay, however, to go after rival basketball teams. You’re welcome.]
Say: It makes us confused, doesn’t it? It makes us be not so sure what we are supposed to do, doesn’t it? It makes us not like that leader as much, right? And sometimes, we start to feel like we could do a better job ourselves, without the leader at all!
Say: In the book of Samuel, this beautiful passage tells us what we already know about leaders: having a good one is “like the sun rising, like a morning without clouds, like the light of the morning.” Ah. Make sure you do your part to follow your good leaders; help them do their job well by being a good follower. Be a good Jesus-follower, and one day, you are probably going to be a good leader yourself. Ah. That will be a fine day.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O wise and loving God,
Give strength and courage
To people who are good leaders.
Help us be good Jesus-followers
And to become good leaders too,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.