|From Abingdon Press catalogue|
Being a teacher, I did not mind having to come up with the specifics of the Bible lesson. My husband quipped that even if I had received ready-made curriculum I would have changed it to make it my own. He is right. One day the story was told as a news report interview of the Bible character Zerubbabel (see Ezra chapter 3), while another day certain students took the roles Esther, King Xerxes and Haman as I read the account of events.
As we came to the fourth lesson, the Bible story was to be Jesus' miraculous feeding of the 5,000. With the Wonder Words of "Work with God," I was initially unclear how I would frame the story to bring across that idea. As I pondered the story for a while and prayed for inspiration, the following came to me:
What is something you know how to do all by yourself? (Students answer). Would you ever ask someone else to help you when you already know how to do it? (No) Imagine that your little brother or sister wants to help you do one of the things you said: (ride your bike, make a sandwich, write your name). What might happen? (Students answer) It might be a lot more messy and frustrating than if you did it by yourself. It would also probably take longer. That's because you don't NEED their help.
Now I want you to think about a mom or dad who is building a tree house. Their little boy or girl who's in Kindergarten wants to help. Do you think the adult needs that help? The little child cannot hold the heavy hammer at all, and it would be too dangerous to use the saw to cut the pieces of wood. The parent does not really need the little child's help, but because of love and wanting to spend time together, a good parent will try to thing of a job that the little child can do. Maybe this job is something like passing the nails or sweeping up sawdust. The parent lets the little child work with him or her, even though it might slow things down.
The way this parent lets the child "work with him" is just like how God works with us. God is so powerful that He can do anything. He made the whole world starting with nothing. He does not actually need our help, but since he made us humans to be in relationship with him, he asks us to work with him. He gives us things we can do. In today's story we will see that Jesus let someone else "help" feed a hungry crowd. He could have provided food without the little boy's lunch, but Jesus lets him be involved in the miracle.
Read/act out the account from John 6: 1-13
The little boy "worked with God" to feed the hungry crowd. Let's think of other ways that people can "work with God." God wants to heal people who are sick. How can people "work with God" to do that? They can be doctors, nurses, massage therapists. They can bring soup or a blanket to someone who is sick, and they can pray for the sick person to be made well. God wants people to hear the good news about Jesus. How can people "work with God" to help that happen? They can tell others, be missionaries, pastors and teachers. They can pray and give money so that others can go and tell. Children and grown ups get to "work with God": he lets us help even when we might make a mistake or slow Him down.