Use this Thanksgiving Children’s sermon / Thanksgiving Object lesson to create a situation in the Sunday school classroom or Worship service to illustrate the story in Luke 17 of the healing of ten lepers and the ONE that return to Jesus and thanked him for what he had done.
10 small gifts. (You can choose any gift as long as the gifts are the same and something the participants would enjoy. A candy bar or individually wrapped piece of candy works well.)
- Put all the smaller gifts inside a box and wrap it box so that it looks special! (Do no individually wrap the smaller gifts.)
- Write instructions on slips of paper for each youth and put them in a bowl.
- On 1 slip of paper
“Do not show this to anyone. Do not talk about it to anyone. Congratulations: You are the grand prize winner! Later when I announce the prize, come forward and claim your prize! But before you can claim your prize you must agree to ONE condition. If ANYONE asks you to share, you MUST give them one of the smaller prizes found inside, even if it means you will have none left for yourself!”
- On 10 of the slips of paper, write the following instructions:
“Do not show this to anyone. Do not talk about it to anyone. Someone will be announced as a grand prize winner. Once the person has unwrapped his prize, go to him and ask him to share it with you. When he does, do not say ANYTHING. Do NOT say thank you or anything else. Take the candy and return to your seat. If you say anything after he shares his prize with you, you will lose it”
- On the remaining slips of paper (one for each other person participating) write:
“Do not show this to anyone. Do not talk about it to anyone. Something interesting is going to happen today. Watch carefully. Do not do make any comments until I announce that “We are going to discuss what just happened.”
- On 1 slip of paper
Variation Add an additional instruction to the 10. “Leave the room and stay outside until you hear that someone has received the grand prize. Do not talk to anyone inside the room. Do not touch anyone inside the room.”
Take it to the Next Level
To the whole group:
- What was strange about what just happened?
To the grand prize winner:
- How did it feel to receive the prize?
- Did you say any words of thanks for it? why or why not?
- How did it feel to have to give what you received away to everyone else?
- Were you upset that no one said “thank you”?
- Would you have felt different if someone has expressed a few words of thanks?
To the 10 who received gifts:
- Did any of you receiving the candy feel bad about accepting it without expressing your thanks?
- Why is thanks important?
Read the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17.
Lepers were required to keep away from people in fear that others would catch their disease. The disease is quite terrible. The cannot feel anything. No pain, nothing. Because of this they get infections and injure themselves without knowing it. Then the infection spreads and they smell like rotting meat. They often lose finger arms feet and other body parts.
Lepers were outcasts. Their condition had made them unclean in the eyes of the public and the authorities. They were not allowed to join in with the rest of society. They had to avoid ANY contact with any other people. They could not touch anyone and no one dared to touch them. They could not touch anything that others would touch. And no one dared touch anything that belonged to them. They could not stay in the same place, they could not worship with others, they could not work, could not drink the same water, could not eat the same food. They were forced to live away from everyone else – completely isolated. They were rejected. Lepers were not allowed to mingle with the public in any way.
If the lepers had tried to approach Jesus there would have been a riot. Instead, they kept their distance and shouted all together as one voice “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” In this way, Jesus was drawn to them.
By what they had heard about Jesus, they knew that had the power to heal them.
Jesus healed them, but then Jesus did something that may seem a little strange. He asked them to go to the Priests? Why? Because even though healed, people would want to have a public validation that they had been healed. Only the Priests could do that. Priests were the ones who could inspect a leper and say, “yes, you are clean now, go free. You don’t have to remain an outcast anymore”. By this, Jesus not only healed the lepers, but also brought them back into fellowship with the community.
- How do you think the Savior felt as the lepers left?
- How do they think it felt when the one leper returned to thank Jesus for healing him?
- What kinds of things should we be grateful for? (Make a list on the board)
- What are some things that have happened to you for which you should be thankful?
Make a list of the things you are personally thankful for, then let’s offer God a prayer of thanks for what he has done in our lives.
MORE IDEAS? See “Creative Object Lessons”
200 page e-book that explains everything you need to know when planning your very own object lessons. It contains 90 fully developed object lesson ideas and another 200 object lesson starter ideas based on Biblical idioms and Names / Descriptions of God.
Games and Activities in Celebration of common Holidays.
Creative Holiday Ideas has over 300 pages of ideas to help you plan your next New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween or Fall Festival, and Thanksgiving event. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re going to do for all these holidays and how you’re going to do it, this resource is for you.
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