8 October 2023
Bible readings for today
yours is the vineyard and the harvest.
Help us to recognise the one you send and to follow him.
Make us willing workers in your vineyard,
so that we may offer you an abundant harvest.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
The parable of the tenants (Matthew 21:33-46)
God's amazing generosity
An interactive talk about the Parable of the Vineyard workers
In this story the workers who worked hard the whole day were angry.
Why was that?
Was it because they didn’t get the money they had been promised? Had the work been too hard?
No, it was because the workers who arrived later got given the same amount of money even though they only worked for a few hours. The full-day workers felt mad that the Vineyard Owner was so generous! They couldn’t stand the thought that others would get a whole day’s pay even though they hadn’t earnt it. They lost focus of the fact that none of them deserved to have been given a job that day at all. It was only because the Vineyard owner hired them that they were able to work and be paid that day.
We can sometimes feel this way about God’s generosity. He is so generous, He loves to give good gifts and bless people...just look at our beautiful planet.
We know He has blessed us. Let’s stop for a minute and you tell me some things in your life you are thankful to God for…
Sometimes we think there are some people who don’t deserve God’s gifts. People who ignore God still get good things. People who do things wrong still seem to have a great life. We can feel mad like the Vineyard workers and focus on being mad about what others have rather then giving God thanks for what He has given us. The truth is we always have something we can be thankful for.
Lets look up a verse. Can we find Matthew 5:45?
This verse says that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
What do we think that means?
It means God doesn’t just give good people blessings. The sun shines on everyone. Neither does He let bad things only happen to evil people, we all have times when it "rains" in our lives.
So we musn’t be mad when people get good things we don’t think they deserve. It's God's very nature to be generous to all people and we should be pleased that He is like this. Instead of being mad we should give God thanks for the good things He has given us.
Let's pray together and say thanks to God right now...
(Could also link this parable to that of the Prodigal Son and the older sons jealousy)
An all age illustration
This is something we did one Sunday that might work for your context.
I chose 3 ‘bosses’ and gave each a bowl of lollies. Each boss had a team that had to complete a random picture (but we could have used any task). I told the kids that when the picture was done, they’d each receive something sweet. Some kids had to draw one circle. Others had to colour in 3 rectangles. Things like that. In other words, some kids definitely had to do more than others-but it still only took a minute or two. (but we had the space to play with this idea- it certainly isn’t necessary. Or you could really expand the task idea).
The gist of the activity was that the bosses got to choose how many lollies each team member got as a reward. I had spoken privately to the bosses and so they knew to give different kids different numbers of lollies having nothing to do with how long it took them to finish their part of the drawing, and I explained that at the end it would be made fair (some kids just won’t go along with hurting other kids!).
When all the kids had been given 1,2 or 3 lollies I asked who thought it was fair. Who liked the way the lollies were given out, etc. I let different kids respond and then said that it really didn’t seem fair (for the reasons they shared) Some had worked longer, some had done more. That’s when I introduced the story saying that Jesus once told a story about something a bit like this, where some people working in the vineyard didn’t think things were very fair. Then I told the story and tied it back with what we’d done. It worked quite well, even though I think it’s a bit of a tough story with kids
If I were doing it as part of an All Age service, and had space I would re orient the task to be something like filling a bucket with water or sand where some people make lots of trips and others don’t have to make very many. Or with the pews, maybe batting balloons down the pew row (where everyone does the same thing, but the rewards are different) I’d keep it quite simple and fast moving. You could make the person at the end of each row the “boss” with the lollies or get a few volunteers before the service started.
Parable of the tenants
The parable of the tenants told using watercolour artwork illustrations -- PDF can be used for onscreen show or for printing in colour.
Can be read by the teacher or more interactively by the children taking turns, or as the background/narration for a role-play or drama.
Last of all, he sent his Son
A story that explores how we have God's forgiveness through his Son. The story can be found on Sermons 4 Kids.
Parable of the tenants song
An animated song of the parable of the tenants, commissioned for the Savior Musical (Saviormusical.com) and made by 'Full of Eyes'
Song: To You Who Have Ears To Ear, by Jonathan Cashman.