Writing a children’s sermon on Luke 16:1-13 ought to be easy, right? I mean, it’s a parable. Jesus tells a story. I love the parables!
But then I look and see what kind of parable of is. Parables almost always contain some twists once you dig in to them. But this one? My oh my. Jesus tells of a character who loses his job for cheating his boss. Then to cover himself, the guy cheats his boss even more — and the boss praises him!
It seems kind of wacky, to tell you the truth. Why does Jesus set this guy up as an example for us? Of course, I could take the easier, safer road and focus on the explanatory bits at the end. Those lines stand nicely by themselves, without the parable, actually. But no. I want to do something with that story.
Let’s see where a children’s sermon on Luke 16:1-13 actually takes me.
(If you want to see my regular Monday Meditation on his text, alas, there isn’t one. I believe I was in the hospital three years ago when I would have written that.)
A Children’s Sermon on Luke 16:1-13
Good morning kids! I’m so glad to see you this morning. It’s great that you are here in worship, and I’m super glad that you came up for the children’s sermon
Jesus and His Stories
You know, Jesus often told his friends stories. He told all kinds of stories. Sometimes they were short, and sometimes they were long. Some were happy stories, and some were a little bit scary. Sometimes his stories taught lessons that were fun and easy — but other times his stories were actually kind of hard to understand.
Always, though, his stories taught his friends something about the Kingdom of God. Today’s story is one of the ones that’s kind of hard to understand. But let’s give it a try.
It went something like this.
A Guy Who Lost His Job
Once upon a time, there was a man who had a very important job. But one day the man’s boss called him into his office and said, “You can’t work for my company any more. You’re fired. Today is your last day.”
Well the man went back to his own office and sat down to think.
“What am I going to do?” he thought. “How will I take care of my family if I don’t have this job? I’m not strong enough to become a construction worker. Maybe I’ll have to stand on the corner and beg for money! I’d be so ashamed.”
He just sat there for a while, feeling terrible.
But then he got an idea. “Maybe I can do something really nice for my boss’s biggest customers! Then tomorrow one of them will give me a job!”
Right away, he called his boss’s biggest customer.
“Hi!” he said. “I have good news for you. You have been such a great customer that my boss decided you only have to pay half your bill. Congratulations!”
And that’s what he did for all the big customers, one by one, all afternoon. He told each one that they only had to pay part of what they owed his boss.
Then it was time to go home.
“I sure hope my boss doesn’t find out!” he thought.
The Next Day
The next afternoon, just when he was getting ready to go ask one of his old boss’s customers for a job, there was a knock on his door.
*Knock* *Knock* *Knock*
When he opened the door, there was his old boss!
His old boss gave him a great big hug. Then he said “I’m so sorry I fired you! Won’t you please come back and work for me? I’m going to give you a big promotion!”
“Um…” the man said, “Why?”
“All morning long, my biggest customers have been calling! They all say what a great guy you are! Because of you, they want to keep buying my products forever! Firing you was a huge mistake.”
After the Story
Jesus’ friends were confused after they heard that story.
“Hey Jesus,” said Peter, “what does that story mean? It sounds like you want us to cheat on our bosses.”
“Well, Peter,” said Jesus, “the boss didn’t feel cheated. He was impressed by how well his worker used what belonged to the business. He was trying to take care of himself, and he also helped other people.”
“But what does that have to do with the Kingdom of God?” Peter asked.
“I wonder,” said Jesus. “In the Kingdom of heaven, who does everything belong to?”
“God, of course,” said Peter.
“So,” asked Jesus, “how do you suppose God feels when you use his stuff to take care of yourself and to help other people?”
“Oh,” said Peter. “Pretty good, I guess.”
“When you do a good job with little things,” Jesus said, “God lets you do bigger things.”
- I wonder how the worker felt when the boss gave him his job back?
- I wonder what you might do with God’s stuff to take care of yourself and help people?
- I wonder what God might give you to do after you do a good job with something?
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
- You can put a little notice in your church bulletin that your children’s sermon is adapted from one published on GaryNealHansen.com.
- You can support my work over on Patreon. (Just $1 per month brings my children’s sermons straight to your inbox about two minutes after they go live. And every little bit keeps me going…)
Jordan Mesenbourg says
Thank you, Gary! I am going to use this tomorrow as a puppet theater play. This is the story assigned to 3, 4, 5 year old Sunday school, and I was praying for a way to explain it. Thank you for being the answer to my prayer!
Gary Neal Hansen says
I’m so glad you found it helpful. Please let me know how it goes!
David Belden says
Hi Gary –
After 47 years as a public school educator, I am spending my retirement time as the children’s minister at a church in Tennessee. Our previous pastor followed the lectionary, but our new pastor does not. However, I was pleased to find your children’s sermon on Luke 16: 1-13, which is the passage our pastor is using this week, and therefore the passage for my message, too. I was struggling on my own with where to go with this passage, and other on-line resources had widely different takes on the parable, and really did not give me the guidance I was seeking. But your “after the story” section and wondering questions gave me the focus I needed. Thank you so much for your inspiration.
Gary Neal Hansen says
Thank you so much, David. I’m so glad you found it helpful. I’m eking my way back to posting a new one every week, so please stop by again!