READ: Jesus told many stories which we call parables. One day Jesus told the story of a poor woman whose husband had died. The woman was badly treated by an unkind judge who would not listen to her and did not follow God’s ways. The woman wouldn’t quit! She kept coming back to the judge, day after day, pleading her cause. Because she would not give up, we call her persistent or even tenacious! Eventually the judge is so frustrated and bothered by the woman, he gives in and makes the right decision. He doesn’t change his mind because he has become kind or had a change of heart, but because the woman would not give up. (Luke 18:1-8)
After he told this story, Jesus said to his disciples, “If an uncaring judge can finally make the right decision for justice, rest assured that God who wants the best for you and for the world will hear the cries of those who are mistreated and long for justice. Don’t lose heart. Trust that our loving God will act with compassion.”
I wonder how the woman felt when the judge did not listen to her?
I wonder if the woman came alone to the judge?
I wonder how the woman felt when the judge changed his mind and helped her?
I wonder how the judge acted the next time someone came and asked for help?
I wonder how you feel when someone listens to you?
PRAY: Loving God, thank you for always listening to us. Help us to be kind and caring when others need our help. Amen.
Some Things Can't Be Measured
One day the disciples came to Jesus. They were worried they might not have enough faith to follow him. They demanded, “Increase our faith.”
Jesus listened to them and told them that the amount of their faith wasn’t the problem. “If you had trust in God the size of a tiny mustard seed, that would be enough. It’s not how much trust you have, but how you live with that trust. Your faith will show through in how you live. (Luke 17:5-6)
I wonder why the disciples thought they didn’t have enough faith?
I wonder what it feels like to trust someone?
I wonder what it feels like to have trust in God?
I wonder how much faith is enough?
Dear God, help us to see you in our world. Give us hearts big enough to love the world. Give us words to share your love with the world. And help us trust that what we can do will change the world. Amen.
Whose Stuff Is This Anyway?
READ: Once someone asked Jesus to intervene in a family dispute over money and property. Jesus listened and then gently told them, “Friend, be careful. The desire for money and possessions is dangerous. You’ll never find what is most important in life if you’re consumed with acquiring things.”
And then Jesus went on to tell a parable about a rich man who owned much farmland. The land was good and produced many crops. The rich man was so impressed with his great harvest he decided to tear down all his old barns and to build newer and larger ones to hold all of his crops for himself. That very night the rich man went to sleep dreaming of his great bounty and all of his plans for keeping his crops for himself. He never built those barns, and he never enjoyed his crops, though. For the rich man died that night, and everything he had, he left behind. (Luke 12:13-21)
WONDER: I wonder why the person asked Jesus to step in and fix their family argument over money?
I wonder why Jesus told this parable?
I wonder what the rich man thought he would do with all of his crops?
I wonder how the rich man’s neighbors thought about his plans to tear down his barns and build new ones?
I wonder why Jesus warned about the desire for money and possessions?
SAY: When someone asked Jesus to help them gain possessions from a family dispute, Jesus tells a story about a man who has many things, but has no concern for others. Jesus points out for us that when we focus on gaining possessions without thinking about others and how what we have can help others, we are missing out on what is most important in our lives.
PRAY: Dear God, thank you for providing us with what we need in our lives. Help us to share what we have with others. Amen.
Who Is My Neighbor?
READ: One day a person asked Jesus what the most important thing in life was. Jesus said, “You already know.” The person replied, “I do. It is to love God and to love people just like they are your neighbors.” Not finished, the person then asked Jesus, “But who is my neighbor?”
Jesus then told him this parable. There was once someone who went from Jerusalem down to Jericho. As he went on his way, he was attacked by robbers. They hurt him, took everything he had, and left him half dead along the side of the road.
There was also a priest of the temple in Jerusalem who was traveling the same road. He came upon the poor traveler lying hurt on the side of the road, with all his belongings taken from him, left half dead. When the priest saw him, he went to the other side of the road and went on his way. Another person who worked at the temple helping the priests who was called a Levite came upon the poor man, still left on the side of the road half dead, with everything taken from him. The Levite, too, crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way.
There was also another person on the road, who lived not in Jerusalem, but in a country called Samaria. The people of Samaria did not like the people of Jerusalem, and the people of Jerusalem did not like people from Samaria. When the stranger saw the traveler who had been hurt, lying on the side of the road with everything taken from him, the stranger went over to him. He treated the traveler’s wounds with medicine, gave him his own coat to wear, put him on his donkey, and took him to a place to spend the night. In the morning, the stranger gave the innkeeper enough money so that the traveler could stay there until he was healthy again.
After telling the story, Jesus asked the person, “I wonder who is the neighbor to the person who was hurt, had everything taken from him, and was left by the side of the road?
WONDER: I wonder who is the neighbor to the person who was hurt, with all his belongings taken away, left by the side of the road?
I wonder what would happen if the person finding the injured traveler were a child?
I wonder what it means to be a neighbor?
I wonder who is the neighbor to the priest? to the Levite? to the Samaritan?
I wonder if we can leave out any of the story and still have all the story we need?
PRAY: Loving God, thank you for the stories Jesus told, stories which make us think, stories which show us what it means to live out your love in our world. Amen.
READ: Jesus often told stories of lost things.
Once he told the story of a man and his two sons. The younger son said to his father, “Give me my inheritance now so that I may enjoy it.” So the father divided his property. The younger son gathered all he had and went to a distant country. Soon he had spent all his money and had nothing left. He was hungry and poor. So he got a job feeding a farmer’s pigs. He was so hungry he thought about eating the pigs’ food.
He thought about home and how everyone who worked for his family had plenty to eat. So he decided to go back to his father and ask for a job.
When he got close to home, his father saw him on the road. He ran to his son and wrapped his arms around him in a big hug.
Before the son could say he was sorry, his father called out for new clothes to be brought, with new shoes, and a ring. And then he told his servants to prepare a party with all the best food to celebrate his son’s return.
The elder brother had been hard at work in the fields. When he came home and found out what all the ruckus was about, he refused to go inside.
His father came out and begged him to come back in. But the older brother said, “I’ve always stayed with you, working hard. But you’ve never thrown a party like this for me!
The father held open his arms and said, “All that is mine is yours. Let us celebrate because your brother was lost and has been found.” (Luke 15:11-32)
WONDER: I wonder what Jesus’ followers felt when they heard this story?
I wonder what the father felt when he saw his younger son coming home?
I wonder how the younger son felt when his father hugged him?
I wonder who this story is about--the younger son? the older son? the father?
I wonder why Jesus told this story?
I wonder whether the older son comes inside?
SAY: In this story we see God always welcomes us with love and compassion.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for always welcoming us in with love, even when we’ve made bad choices or when we think we’ve let you down. Amen.
Weekly Faith Conversations
Use these guides as conversation starters with your family. A short retelling of the scripture passage is offered, or you may want to look the story up in your own bible or in a children's bible. The wondering questions are written to open up faith exploration with children and adults.