A Partner, Not a Robot (Sunday School Lesson for Kids)
This lesson is part of God's Story of Work for Kids, a 12-week curriculum that teaches children to see work through God's perspective.
God created us to be partners in his work.
- several pieces of blank cardstock paper
- 2 clothes hangers, one labeled ROBOT and one labeled HUMAN
- loaf of delicious looking bread or cheese or anything children might like to eat
Opening - Robot (Simon Says) Game
Like as in Simon says, children will be given verbal cues first using the phrase "robots" instead of "Simon says." If they don't hear the term "robot" they should not obey (similar to Simon says).
Examples of cues:
- Robots, march in place.
- Robots, run in place.
- Robots, walk in place very slowly.
- Robots, stop.
- Robots, jump up and down.
- Robots, jump faster.
- Stop! (if any children stop they are out since the word "robots" was not used.")
- Make up your own...
Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made human beings, you and I, in his image. To be made in someone's image means that what is made is like the original person. You are made in God's image - meaning that when someone looks at you, there are many things about you that show who God is. We are able to think, create, design, run, fix and grow things because God made us to be like him. God didn't make us robots that just do what he tells us to do.
How cool is that? Look at someone next to you and tell them, "I see God in you!"
One of the ways you and I reflect God's image is that just like God, we work!
Robots and humans both work. But what's the difference between how a robot works and how a human being works? (Invite children's responses. As kids respond, write each answer on a card stock and tape to the appropriate clothing hanger so that the answers form a long hanging row of descriptions. Examples of answers could be: Robots do as they are told. Humans think. Humans create. Robots can be turned off. Humans sleep Humans are alive.)
Humans are very different from robots, aren't they? God could have made us robots that do exactly what he commands. He could have made us all robots that just take orders and do them. Instead God made us alive - He breathed life into the very first human being. He gave us the ability to think, create, dance, invent, move, figure things out and so much more. When we work, we have freedom to come up with things on our own and do things for ourselves.
Instead of robots, God made us partners in his work. A robot is something you command to do things that has no control over its own ability or freedom. A partner is someone who shares a goal with you. Together partners take action towards their shared objective.
Read aloud or ask a child to stand and read for the group
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field.
What is one of the ways in this passage that you see God inviting humans to partner in work? (Invite children's responses.)
Yes, God invites Adam to name the animals he made. How fun is that? God does everything perfectly and is the most creative of all. He could have made the best names, yet he bring the animals to Adam to see what Adam will come up with. God enjoys getting our input on things and having us partner with him. He enjoys sharing the experience with us. Can't you just imagine Adam saying, "Hmm, this strange animal that swims that makes funny noises... The noises kind of sound like... I know! Let's call it a duck!" I can just picture God and Adam laughing and having a lot of fun.
Today, God is still the same. He enjoys working with us and invites us to be partners in his work. You are created not to be a robot, but a partner.
(Hold up the loaf of bread or whatever food object you've prepared.) Bread is delicious. But it does not grow on trees. Someone has to do something with what is already there. Because of work, we can turn grain into flour and then into all kinds of delicious bread and pasta. How many of you like cheese? It's delicious but without work there is no milk, butter, cheese, or ice cream. Being able to work is a special privilege where we get to experience the joy of producing something good out of simple materials around us.
Can anyone tell me the difference between being God's robot and being God's partner? (Invite children's responses.)
Let's pray. God, we learned today that we were made in your image. We are like you in the way we work. Not only are we able to work, we were made to partner in your work. Thank you for sharing your work with us. It's much more fun and meaningful to be able to create and think than to be robots that just take orders. Help us to discover the cool ways you made us able to work throughout this week. In Jesus' name, amen.
- God-made-you-a-partner-in-his-work.pdf worksheet (one copy for each child)
- 2 large circles of paper per group (If you don't have large paper, tape together 4 letter-sized sheets of paper, then cut out a circle
- markers / crayons
Opening Activity (5 minutes)
Ask children to share a time that they helped somebody do their work. It could have been anyone - a teacher, parent, sibling, friend, or a stranger. How did they feel about being able to help? What did they enjoy about the work?
Worksheet: God Made Us Partners in His Work (6 minutes)
Give each child a copy of the God Made You a Partner in his Work worksheet. Ask children to circle the words that describe what a partner does, then circle the words that describe what a robot does. They can add their own words to the lists. Review the lists together.
Robots, Partners and Pizza Game (15 minutes)
Place one large circle in the center of the group. Tell the children you will be the master, and they are the robots. The circle of paper will be a pizza pie, but they must decorate it the way you tell them. Give out orders such as "Robots, put 15 slices of pepperoni on your pie. Robots, put broccoli on your pie. Robots, color your pie green." (Give specific orders, suggesting things that the children might not like on their pizza.) (Alternative - You can invite a child to be the Master and give the orders.)
Place the second circle in the center of the group. Tell the children that now they will be partners, not robots. You are all part of a pizza shop and you need their help to create some really creative pizzas. Have them work together to come up with a new pie.
Review: Ask the children: What did you enjoy about being a robot? What did you not like? What did you enjoy about being a partner?
Share & Pray (5 minutes)
Ask each child to pray for the person to his/her right. If they are unsure how to pray, you can model and they can repeat. Or lead them in the following prayer. Explain that you will start the prayer, and when you pause they can add any names or requests they want to pray for.
Leader: Dear Jesus, thank you for our class and for teaching us today that you want us to be partners in your important work. You know each of us by name. You made each of us and love each of us so very much. You know the things we want to bring to you and right now we lift up ____________________________. In Jesus' name, amen.
This Week's Focus: I am God's Partner in Work
This week we learned that human beings were made by God in his image. As human beings, we reflect who God is in how we are made - which includes our ability to work creatively. What a privilege that instead of creating robots that execute his orders, God designed us to be creative, to think like him and to partner with him in his work. From the very beginning God invited Adam to help name the animals he made. God desires relationship with us not only through prayer and reading his word but through work.
Do this Week's Workout: Project Partners!
The Weekly Workout is a great way you can work our the week's focus with your child - in action. Invite the whole family into this time. God is at work.
God is working all over the world - and right here in your neighborhood, school, and home. Talk together about a place God is working that you can partner and join this week as a family. Pray together and see if there's something or someone or somewhere specific that God brings to mind.
Here are some suggestions to get ideas rolling:
- Partner in caring for the poor. Make sandwiches to give to the local homeless.
- Partner in caring for creation. Sign up to volunteer to weed a local park, or go as a family to pick up garbage in an area. (Pack gloves, thick garbage bags, and sanitary wipes.)
- Partner in caring for the lonely. Make a card to brighten the day for someone who could use a bit of cheer.
- Partner in welcoming people. Take a room in your house that could be made more welcoming when people come over. Think through small things you can do to make it more welcoming and work on it together. (For example, paint and hang up a blessing verse on the living room wall, throw away clutter, etc.)
Talk about it: What impact did you see from partnering with God? What gifts/abilities that God gave you were you able to use to partner with him? Take time as a family to point out and affirm the gifts you saw in action in each other. Be specific, such as "I saw your gift for organization in how you remembered to pack the gloves."