Focus Passage: Mark 10: 32-45

Memory Verse: “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.”

Items for Preparation

Nothing today. You know the drill: Nil, zip, nada, zilch. Yea. You can do this one with one arm tied behind your back.

Background

Read the adult lessons in Baptists Today and additional material at Nurturing Faith online. We’ll line kids up in ABC order, then get them to reverse order. Then we’ll tell a story which has become part of church lore to illustrate this idea of the last being first.

Children’s Sermon

Say: Let’s stand up and get in line according to the letters of our first names. Everybody with a name beginning with A, come and be in line first! [Follow this through.]

Say: [to the last kid in line] Hi there, [name of your last alphabetical kid here], so, how’s it going today? Peace be with you. What’s it like, always to be the last one in line? [Allow for this kid’s answer.]

Say: [to this last kid] Well, what if I told you we’re gonna change this up? Just for today, we are going to do things in the opposite order, ZYX order! So, everybody switch! [Name of your last kid], you go to the front of the line! [Allow a moment of pandemonium while kids get into a different order.]

Say: NOW, [name of the kid formerly known as last] what does this feel like? [Allow for response.] Alriiiiight! Now we can all sit down.

Say: Here comes a story to help show how good it is when the last one is first and the first one is last.

There was a school like your school, and it had a principal, some teachers, and a housekeeper who kept the whole schoolhouse spic-and-span. The principal got paid a lot of money to be the principal. The teachers got paid some money, not as much, to be teachers. Be very kind to your teachers; they are very good people. And last in line was the housekeeper, who got paid only a little bit to do all of the work to clean the whole school every day. Now, you’ve been at school. Do you know how clean it is in the mornings? Do you know how dirty it gets in the afternoons? So yeah, you understand how hard the housekeeper’s job was. But still, he only got paid a little bit of money.

Say: Now one day the housekeeper came to the principal’s office and said to her, “Ms. Principal, I am having a struggle. My daughter is ready to go to college, and she is very smart. But I do not have enough money to pay for her to go to college. I will have to stop being the housekeeper, and get a better job, that pays more money, or my daughter will not be able to go to college. This makes me sad, because I love this school.”

Say: So the principal thought about that. The principal was married, but she didn’t have any children to send to college. So the principal thought, and she thought, and she thought some more. Then she had a brilliant idea, like the idea Jesus said to his friends, that the last shall be first, and that the one who wants to be the leader will be the servant. She told the housekeeper her brilliant idea.

Say: The principal said to the housekeeper, “Mr. Housekeeper, why don’t you and I trade our money? While you are paying for your daughter to go to college, you can get the money the school pays me, and I will get the money the school pays you. That way, the school will not have to pay any extra money. I will have just enough, and you will have much more, enough to pay for college. Is that a brilliant Jesus-like idea?”

Say: Then the housekeeper smiled and said to the principal, “Why, Ms. Principal, I think that’s a wonderful Jesus-like idea. I can keep my job making the schoolhouse clean, which I like to do. My daughter can go to college. You are a very smart principal.”

Say: So that is the way it works when the leader figures out how to be the servant. That’s what happens when the last one becomes the first one. That is Jesus’ brilliant idea.

Prayer: Say these words after I say them.

O God, you who are First and Last,
You who are Alpha and Omega,
Put brilliant ideas in us
As you put them in Jesus
And let us be leaders and servants of all,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.