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Giving Our Best

5th Sunday in Lent

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: John 12:1-8 

Preparation: Bring a reproduction of a religious work of art (from a poster, book, or magazine). It would be nice if this were a biblical scene the students might recognize.

I’d like each of you to imagine that you are a famous artist. You’ve been practicing your drawing and painting for a long, long time. Now you can draw whatever you can picture in your mind. If you want to draw a galloping horse, you can do it so well that it almost looks as if the horse is moving on the paper. If you want to paint a picture of a flower in the morning sunshine, you can paint it so well that anyone could almost smell the flower’s fragrance.

Now, imagine that Jesus himself asked you to paint a picture that he could hang up in heaven. What would you paint for Jesus? (Let children offer ideas.) You would want to paint a beautiful picture, wouldn’t you? How long do you think it would take to finish your painting? (Let children respond.) You would want this painting to be the best you had ever done, wouldn’t you? Here is a painting that one artist made to honor Jesus. He worked hard on it, and it is beautiful. (Show painting and let children tell what it shows, how it makes them feel.)

The Gospel lesson for today is from the book of John. It tells us about a woman who gave the very best that she had for Jesus. Jesus was eating dinner in the home of his friends Mary and Martha. Both these women loved Jesus very much. To show how much she loved him, Mary took a jar of very expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet and then wiped his feet with her hair. One of the other guests said Mary was wrong to do this. He said she was wasteful, that she should have sold the perfume and given the money to the poor.

But Jesus stuck up for Mary. It was good that she wanted to show Jesus how much she loved him. Jesus knew that he would soon die on the cross, and he said to the man who criticized Mary: “Leave her alone. . . . You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be with you much longer” (John 12:7-8 NLT).

Mary was giving her very best for Jesus. It would be like us painting the very best picture we possibly could to give to Jesus. But you don’t have to be an artist to give Jesus your best. What are some of the best things you can give Jesus? (Let kids name talents or acts of kindness or service they can offer. If necessary, start them off: “Timmy, you can read really well; maybe you could read a story about Jesus to your little sister,” or “Jenny, what could you do to honor Jesus by helping out at home?” etc.) 

All of us honor Jesus by living our lives to his glory by saying and doing things that show how much we love Jesus.

Prayer:  Jesus, help us to give you our very, very best in the way we live and in the way we act toward one another.


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