Scripture: Matthew 15:32-39, Mark 8:1-10
- Students will learn God cares about our needs.
- Students will learn God provides what we need (but not necessarily what we want).
- Students will learn nothing is impossible for God if it is within His will.
- Students will learn how to show empathy to others.
Guiding Question: How can students learn the importance of empathy?
Materials: Various photos of people with different facial expressions conveying different emotions
Procedure: Review the story of the 4000 Fed from the scriptures above. Explain that even though it seemed impossible to feed everyone, Jesus performed a miracle because He cared about those people, wanted to meet their needs, and lead them to wanting to know more about Him. He made the impossible possible because it was part of His plan and He can do the same in our lives. God cares about every need we have and wants to provide for us. As Christians, God wants us to be able to help others in need in the best ways we can. In this story, Jesus spent a lot of time healing people with disabilities before he fed them all. Jesus felt great concern for the people bcs they had been with him for three days. He was afraid if they didn’t eat they might get too weak on their way home.
Jesus had empathy for them. Empathy is taking the time to understand how other people feel and showing compassion for their needs and serving them when possible. Some people have trouble with understanding how facial expressions and body language convey what others are feeling. Show students various photos of people with different expressions. How do they think those people are feeling? Why might they be feeling that way? What is one way they could think of to serve that person?
Additional Questions: How can students model showing empathy?
Supplemental Activity: Have students work in pairs and plan a script for a skit where one student shows empathy to the other. When students are finished planning, they can perform and the other students can explain how that skit used empathy.