Footsteps of Service

Friday:Footsteps of Service
Story Passages: Philippians 4:10-19, 2nd Kings 4:8-13
Other Passages: Acts 9:36-39, 1st Corinthians 12-14
Objective: We should serve God by serving others.
Visuals Available (updated 2016)
Memory Verse: Philippians 2:4, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Introduction: Footsteps
This week we're learning about people in the Bible, whose footsteps we should follow. Following their footsteps means doing the same kinds of things that they did, or being the kind of people that they were. Tonight we're going to talk about two examples – one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament – of people who offered God their time and money. These people served God by the way they served other people. The first example is a man named Epaphroditus, who helped the apostle Paul.
Story: Epaphroditus
The apostle Paul spent many years in prison. He had been put in prison for telling people about Jesus. Back then, the government didn't guarantee people the freedom to talk about their religion, so if you were talking about Jesus and there were some people in town who didn't like it, sometimes they could get you arrested and thrown into prison. This happened to Paul a lot.
Prisons were different in Paul's day, too. While he was in prison, the soldiers were not going to bring him food. If his friends and family didn't bring it to him, he would starve, and would no longer be able to help the churches. So it was important for others who believed in Jesus to take care of Paul. Someone needed to bring him food and other things that he needed. Someone did. Someone named Epaphroditus left his home, his job, and his family, and took the gifts that the church collected to help Paul. He took it all the way to Rome, where Paul was, and brought it to him. Because Epaphroditus did that, Paul was able to write letters to churches, letters that we now have in our Bible. Epaphroditus served God by taking care of Paul.
Application: Giving Time
[On the blackboard/whiteboard/overhead/whatever, write "Giving Your Time" at the top, and underline it. Ask the kids for ways that we today can spend our time to serve other people and thus to serve God. e.g., we can rake leaves for the pastor, we can pray for missionaries, we can serve food at a funeral dinner, we can babysit kids for a sick woman at church, etc. List a whole bunch of possibilities – things that don't cost money, but are just things we can do that are a service.]
Story: The Shunammite
In the Old Testament, there was a prophet named Elisha. Sometimes Elisha had to go to Shunem, and he had no place to stay. He would have been sleeping outside. But there was a woman who lived there, whose husband was old and rich. She noticed that Elisha was a man of God. So one day, when Elisha came to Shunem, the woman asked him to stay for a meal and eat with her family. She had plenty, so it was no big deal. So then every time Elisha passed through Shunem, he stayed for a meal at her house.
Then the woman noticed that he was coming to town a lot, and had no place to stay. There were no hotels. So she said to her husband, I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us. So they did. She wanted to serve God by taking care of the prophet Elisha.
Elisha noticed her kindness, and wanted to repay her, by giving her a blessing. But he didn't know what she wanted. So he asked her, You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? But the woman didn't want to be repaid for her service. She said, I have a home among my own people. In other words, I'm already taken care of. When you're serving God, you don't need to be repaid. You're not doing it to gain something. You're doing it for God. (Now, Elisha did go on to do something very special for the woman later. But that's another story.)
Application: Giving Stuff
[On the blackboard/whatever, write "Giving Stuff", and underline it. Ask the kids for ways that we today can give stuff to other people and thus serve God. e.g., we can send money to missionaries, bring food to people who are sick, letting traveling missionaries stay in your home, helping people who have lost their jobs, contributing money for poor kids to go to church camp, etc.]
Invitation: Service
Invite any children who want to serve God in the church to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

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