It’s week three in our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” series, based on a set of lessons from Ministry-to-Children.com. After learning about the wedding at Cana and Jesus’s meal with Zacchaeus, this week we moved on to the story of Mary and Martha.
Goal: Today we will learn about the importance of making time for Jesus first and foremost in our lives.
Key Scripture: “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” – Luke 10:41-42
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Mary & Martha coloring page
- Small glass jar
- Paper plates
- Hole punches
- Strips of construction paper (various colors; 1 inch wide; half should be 6 inches long, half 3 inches long)
- Plastic food
Introduction: Give each child a coloring page and crayons, then ask them to begin coloring. While they are working, distract them with the questions or commands like these:
- What color hair does the person next to you have?
- What is today’s date?
- What is your favorite color?
- Walk around the table twice.
- Stand up, then sit down and clap three times.
After a few minutes, discuss the following:
- Who finished coloring their picture?
- Why or why not?
Point out to the children that it is difficult to complete a task if we don’t give it our full attention. Explain that today’s lesson will be about two ladies, one who was very distracted and the other who focused on Jesus.
Lesson: Choose three kids to serve as actors – one to be Mary, another Martha, and the third Jesus. Give the two who are acting as Mary and Martha scarves to cover their heads and some sort of robe to the one pretending to be Jesus. As you tell the story, have these three kids act the story out. After doing this once, there may be others who would like to try acting. Retell the story, allowing for different actors, as time allows.
Play “Martha Says,” an adaptation of “Simon Says,” to give the kids a wiggle break and help them to remember some of these important points of the story. Have a leader call out instructions such as “Martha says jump up and down” or “Martha says do the chicken dance.” However, when the leader calls out “Mary,” everyone must sit down and put their hand to their ear, as if they are listening.
Gather the children in a circle and engage them in the following object lesson. Place a small glass jar in front of you for the children to see, along with some marbles and rice. Place the marbles in the jar, then fill the remaining space with the rice. Take everything out of the jar, then try to fill the jar again, but this time start with the rice, then try to add the marbles. This time everything won’t fit as it did the last time! Try filling the jar again, but this time starting with the marbles, then adding the rice. Everything should fit just fine again! Explain that the marbles are like Jesus. When we put Him first in our live, then add everything else (family, toys, school, TV, sports, etc.) everything will fit in a lot easier than if we try to do it the other way around! Ask the children for ideas as to how they can put Jesus first in their life.
Conclusion: Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.
Make Time for Jesus: Provide paper plates, brads, markers, one-hole punches, and strips of construction in various colors (1 inch wide; half should be 6 inches long, half 3 inches long. Help the children to write numbers on their paper plate to make it look like a clock, then write the words “Make Time for Jesus” in the middle. Then, punch a hole in the end of two strips of construction paper (one of each size) and attach them to the paper plate using a brad. Allow the children to decorate their clock further if they would like.
Let’s Make a Meal: Provide plastic food and allow younger ones to create a make-believe meal, perhaps of foods that they would serve if Jesus visited their house, like he did Mary and Martha. Take time to “sample” their creations!
Martha Says: Allow the children to play “Martha Says” in small groups.