Giving God His Due –
The Parable of the Tenants
Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids to be grateful and honor God for the gifts He gives us.
Needed: Bibles, fruit or paper wads, paper wads, soft balls
Intro Game #1 – Gathering the Harvest – Divide students into two teams and have them line up at one side of the room. Give each team a bowl. At the other end of the room, place a bowl full of fruit or small wads of paper to stand for fruit. One by one, the members of each team run to their bowl and bring back a single piece of fruit. They then add their piece of fruit to the team’s bowl. The first team to retrieve all their pieces of fruit wins.
Intro Game #2 – Fruit Harvest Tribute – Scatter wads of paper on the floor and around the room to stand for fruit. Give students a 10-second time limit and tell them to collect as many pieces as they can to bring to you.
After 10 seconds, yell, “Stop!” It’s the end of the harvest season. The student who brings you the most strips wins.
Play a few times to give others a chance to win.
Lesson: Ask students, What does God want us to do in life?
God wants us to love Him and to love other people. God wants us to do the right things.
What will happen when we die if we have loved God and loved other people and tried to do the right things that God wants us to do? (We will go to Heaven when we die.)
What will happen if we don’t love God and we don’t love other people and don’t do the things that God wants us to do? (We will go to Hell when we die.)
(Read Matthew 21:33-34.)
“’Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.’”
So, the farmer planted a field and then, rented it to other farmers. All the farmer wanted was for the other farmers to give him some of the fruit that they grew on the farm. If they gave him some of the fruit, they could keep using the farm field and growing fruit for themselves.
(Read Matthew 21:35-37.)
“’The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son,” he said.’”
When the farmer sent his servants to get some of the fruit from the other farmers, what did they do? (They killed the servants.)
Finally, the farmer decided to send his son to get some of the fruit. Do you think the farmers will give the son some of the fruit from the farm field, or will they kill the son too?
(Read Matthew 21:38-41.)
“’But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.” So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“’Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’
“’He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,’ they replied, ‘and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.’”
So, the farmers killed the son too. Then, what did it say the farmer is going to do? (He’s going to kill the bad farmers and rent the farm to other farmers who will give him his share of the fruit.)
That story is kind of like how God is with us. God made the whole world, just like the farmer planted the farm field. And God gave the world to people, just like the farmer rented his farm field to other farmers.
And all God wants is for people to do the right things, just like all the farmer wanted was some of the fruit from the farm. And in the Bible, we read about how God sent the people prophets and teachers to remind them about the good things that God wanted them to do, just like the farmer sent his servants to get some of the fruit.
But the people in the Bible killed the prophets and the teachers because they didn’t want to listen to them and didn’t want to do the right things God wanted them to do, just like the bad farmers didn’t want to give the farmer any of the fruit.
Finally, God sent His Son, Jesus, to teach people how to do the right things that God wanted them to do, but the people killed Jesus too, because they didn’t want to listen to God.
And just like the farmer said he was going to kill all those bad farmers, God says that anyone who doesn’t believe in Him and do the right things will eventually go to Hell when they die.
The good news is that as long as we believe in God and love Him and love other people and do our best to do the right things that He wants us to do, then we won’t have to go to Hell. We will go to Heaven instead.
So, let’s do our best to believe in God and do the right things He wants us to do. And let’s do our best to tell other people about God too so that they believe in Him and go to Heaven when they die.
Game: Prophets and Son – Divide students into two teams and set a timer for 3-5 minutes, depending on how many students you have. Team A will be the prophets and the Son. One by one, they’ll run across the play area and then, back to their team, while the members of Team B stand behind a line and throw soft balls or paper wads at them.
If a member of Team A makes it back it to their team without being hit, score a point for their team and go to the back of the line to run again. If they get hit, they’re out, and Team B scores a point. The last runner left on Team A is the Son, and can only run one time.
The game is over when all of the members of Team A are out or when the timer goes off. Then, switch roles. The team with the most combined points from when they were throwing and running wins.
Remind students that God sent prophets and Jesus to tell them to believe in God and do the right things, but the people wouldn’t listen and killed both the prophets and Jesus.
Closing Prayer: Father God, we thank You for giving us the world. Help us to thank You by always doing the right things that You want us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Recommended ExtraParable of the Tenants – free coloring and activity pages
This lesson is included in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus: Volume 2.