Choose one or more Bible stories that are appropriate for your children. If the Bible passage is too complex for your children, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”
Note: Before you read the Bible verses, explain that Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave. Joseph ended up working in the foreign country of Egypt for Potiphar, who was the captain of the guard for Pharaoh.
Read Genesis 39:1-6.
God watched over Joseph and gave him success in all he did. The Bible tells us that Joseph found favour in Potiphar’s eyes and Potiphar made Joseph his attendant, putting Joseph in charge of everything in his household. Potiphar himself said that with Joseph in charge he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Potiphar relied on Joseph. To rely on someone means that you depend on them to do what you ask them to do. Evidently Joseph took his responsibilities seriously and proved to be a reliable worker. If Potiphar had found Joseph to be an unwilling or unreliable worker, he would not have trusted him with so much responsibility.
Young children are given small jobs. As they grow older and prove to be trustworthy, their parents can give them more and more things to be responsible for.
Read Matthew 21:28-31.
Jesus told a story of two sons who were asked by their father to go and work in his vineyard. One son said, “I will not.” But he later changed his mind and went to work. The other son said, “I will, sir,” but he never showed up to work. The son who said “no,” but later decided to obey was more pleasing in the sight of the father than the one who said he would go, but did not. The Bible instructs children to obey their parents. Being obedient can be considered a “job from God” for kids.
Ephesians 6:1 “
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Colossians 3:20 “
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
Note: Before you begin, invite your children to listen carefully for the reasons why these people were chosen to do specific jobs for God.
Read Exodus 18:14-23.
God has given every person a special set of abilities. 1 Chronicles 15:22 tells us that Chenaniah was put in charge of singing because he was skillful at it. God’s Word also talks about other jobs that were given to people because they were considered trustworthy, honest and God-fearing. In Acts 6:1-5, certain men were selected to serve God because they were wise and full of the Holy Spirit. When we are chosen to do a “God job,” the Bible tells us that we are to use our gifts to serve others faithfully. As we do so, our goal in serving others should be to bring praise and glory to God.
1 Peter 4:10-11 “
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Note: Before you begin, explain to your children that Daniel was living in a foreign country where the people worshipped false gods instead of the one true God. Even though he was far away from his home country of Israel, Daniel continued to worship God faithfully.
Read Daniel 6:1-14.
In the story of Daniel, we read that he was one of the king’s important leaders. Daniel did such a good job of his work that the king planned to put Daniel in charge of his whole kingdom. This made the other leaders jealous and they tried to find a way to show the king that Daniel was doing something wrong.
But they couldn’t find any fault with Daniel, because he was trustworthy, honest and did his work thoroughly. The jealous men noticed that Daniel also worshipped God faithfully and decided this would be a good way to get Daniel into trouble with the king. They asked the king to make a law that said it was wrong to pray to or worship any god or man, except the king himself, for 30 days.
Even though Daniel heard about the new law, he continued to be faithful to God and continued to pray three times each day. The jealous men reported Daniel to the king. The king was extremely upset about having Daniel punished and he tried to let Daniel go free, but the men insisted that anyone who broke the law was to be thrown into the den of lions. As Daniel was thrown to the lions the king called out, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” (Daniel 6:16). The king knew that Daniel served his God as faithfully as he had served him, the king. So the king hoped that Daniel’s God would be able to save him.
We can see from Daniel’s story that being a reliable and trustworthy worker means serving God and those in authority over you faithfully, honestly and wholeheartedly.
Daniel 6:4 “
Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.”
Daniel 6:26-28 “
‘I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring forever; His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and His dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, He who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.’ So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Proverbs 20:11 “
Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”
Read Matthew 24:42-51.
Jesus told His disciples a story about two servants. He said that one servant acted wisely and faithfully, doing his job properly, even when his master was away. Jesus explained that this servant would be rewarded with increased responsibility.
The other servant in the story was a wicked servant who chose to mistreat others and relax and eat and drink instead of working while the master was away. Jesus warned that there would be severe punishment for the wicked servant when the master returned.
The story Jesus told applies to our lives too. God wants us to love, obey and serve Him diligently. Children can gain their parents’ trust through obeying, whether their parents are watching or not. As a parent observes a child being reliable, they begin to trust their child more and more. However, if parents find that their child only obeys when they are around and misbehaves when they are not watching, the parents will discipline the child and gradually lose trust in him or her.
Proverbs 15:3 “
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
Psalm 33:13 “
The Lord looks down from heaven; He sees all the children of man . . .”
Note: Share some of this background to the story before you begin:
Solomon was the wisest king that Israel had ever had, but he still made some unwise choices. Solomon chose to please himself instead of God. He took foreign women to be his wives, even though God had commanded the Israelites not to marry foreigners (1 Kings 11:2). The Bible tells us that as Solomon grew old, his wives led him astray and turned his heart toward other gods (1 Kings 11:4). God decided to choose someone else to be king in Solomon’s place – and it wasn’t one of Solomon’s sons. Instead God chose Jeroboam, a man whom Solomon had already noticed as a strong leader.
Read 1 Kings 11:27-37.
When they were building walls around the city of Jerusalem, Solomon noticed a young man named Jeroboam, who was very industrious. The Bible says that when Solomon saw how well Jeroboam did his work, Solomon put him in charge of all the workers of the house of Joseph (1 Kings 11:28).
Later, a prophet named Ahijah, met Jeroboam alone in the countryside and told him that God was going to make him king over 10 of the tribes of Israel. Ahijah also told Jeroboam that if he obeyed God’s commands and did what was right in God’s eyes that God would be with him.
It was not only Solomon who noticed how well Jeroboam did his work; God noticed as well and He chose Jeroboam to be the next king of Israel.
The story of Jeroboam does not have a happy ending, however. He chose to follow foreign gods and eventually God put an end to his reign as king of Israel (2 Chronicles 11:14-15, 13:20).
The lesson we learn from this story is important: industry and diligence alone are not pleasing to God. Rather, God also looks for a person who has a humble heart and who chooses to follow His commands.
Psalm 147:10-11 “
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.”
Isaiah 66:2 “
All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word.”
John 14:21 “
Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Note: Before you read the Bible verses, explain that the Bible talks about a special wife. This wife is a hardworking woman. She doesn’t just sit around and wait for her husband to do everything – she does a lot of work herself. As you read, ask your children to raise their hand every time they hear ways the wife works hard.
Read Proverbs 31:10-31.
In Proverbs 31 we read about an industrious and godly wife. It tells of many ways that she worked hard to serve her husband and her family. Proverbs 31 says she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” To be idle means to be lazy – to sit around and not do much of anything. But this woman worked energetically and purposefully. The Bible also says she gave wise advice and that she “feared” or respected God.
Even though you may be young, it’s not too early to begin thinking about what kind of person you want to be when you grow up, and what character traits you will look for in a husband or wife.
Note: This is a long story. To help children pay attention, assemble some props beforehand. As you read, have your children set up a tabernacle scene using the props. For example, use a piece of fabric or a napkin for a curtain, candles and candlesticks for lamps and lampstands, a jewelry box for the ark, a bowl for a basin, a small box covered with gold paper for the altar of incense, another small box for the altar of burnt offering, a larger box for the tabernacle and a larger piece of fabric for the tent, a small bottle of water for anointing oil, crackers for bread, and dolls or stuffed animals to represent people.
Find a picture of the tabernacle online, if you wish, so your children can see how extensive the tabernacle was. If your children enjoy building with Lego® or blocks, building a model of the tabernacle could also be an effective teaching tool. (In addition to the reading below, Exodus 26-27 contains further details describing the building of the tabernacle.)
Read Exodus 40:1-35.
God asked Moses to build a beautiful tabernacle for the Israelites to use in their worship of Him. It took a lot of work to make the tabernacle (Exodus 26-27), and it was a lot of work to set it up for use. When we set up our tabernacle model, it showed us what a big job God gave Moses.
Moses did not complain about all the detailed jobs that he had to do. Instead, he got started on the job right away and worked until it was done. We know that God was pleased with Moses, because when Moses was finished all the work, God blessed the Israelites with His presence. He filled the tabernacle so full of His glory that Moses couldn’t even go in.
In John 14:23 we read that Jesus told His disciples that God would make His home with them, too, if they loved Him and obeyed His commands. This promise is true for us as well. One of the things God asks children to do is obey their parents. When children do what their parents ask them, God is pleased.
John 14:23 “
Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to Him and make Our home with him.’ ”
Colossians 3:20 “
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”