To challenge children to stop and think about whether something is good, rather than just being carried along by the enthusiasm of others for whatever is new.
Things you’ll need
- Bold, clear adverts for new products (eg latest fashions, sportswear, toys or games, pop groups/songs etc), or a selection of new, ‘latest’ products to show.
- A simple signpost, made out of card, pointing in two directions with a space to add the word ‘good’ during the assembly.
- Words from Jeremiah 6:16, Youth Bible, Nelson Word copied onto a large sheet of paper, and rolled up like a scroll
1 Show the adverts for, or examples of, a variety of the ‘latest’, ‘new’ things, which are also popular. Invite the children to comment on the various items. Ask why they think the things are ‘good’. Do they like them/want them because ‘everyone’ likes/has them?
2 Talk about being in a crowd when everyone is going in one direction and how hard it is to go the opposite way. Then show the signpost. Talk about coming to a crossroads where you have to stop and choose which way to go.
3 Talk to the children about Jeremiah, using the following idea, adapting the style and vocabulary to suit the particular situation:
Over two and a half thousand years ago a man called Jeremiah was living in the country we now call Israel. We can read about him in the Bible. He was a prophet– one of God’s special messengers. He listened very carefully to God and then told the people what God had said.
Long before Jeremiah was born, God had given the people some very good instructions about how to live. He had told them about what was really important in life– loving God and caring for each other. But by Jeremiah’s time they had forgotten all about God’s rules. They were greedy, always wanting more things. They told lies. They didn’t care about helping poor people. They certainly didn’t love God. God’s rules were ‘old’. They were rushing through life towards something ‘new’.
One day, God told Jeremiah to give the people this message.
Ask the children to listen carefully. Then read the Jeremiah’s message from the scroll (Jeremiah 6:16).
This is what the Lord says:
‘Stand where the roads cross and look.
Ask where the old way is,
where the good way is, and walk on it.
If you do, you will find rest for yourselves.’
4 Show the children the signpost again. Remind them that the message told the people to do several things. Ask the children what these things were. Talk about each as the children respond, explaining as appropriate. The instructions were to:
- stand still and look (comment that if we’re always rushing from one thing to the next, we’ll never have time to think about what we’re doing);
- ask where the ‘old way’ is;
- ask where the ‘good way’ is.(write ‘good’ on the signpost);
- walk on it.
5 Ask the children if they remember what the promise was at the end of the message (‘…you will find rest for yourselves’). Explain that the word ‘rest’ here doesn’t mean resting your body. It means being peaceful inside yourself– being at peace with God.
A Christian viewpoint
Even though Jeremiah’s message was given thousands of years ago, Christians believe it is still important today to take his message from God seriously. They believe that God’s way is the best way. The Bible is a book full of instructions about how to live God’s way, the good way. Christians believe that Jesus gave us an example of how to do that. For Christians, Jeremiah’s message from God reminds them to stop and take time to read the Bible to find out what God says ‘the good way’ is– and then to follow it!
For all of us, it is good to stop sometimes and think about what we are doing, to think about what ‘the good way’ is, and then to go that way.
Ask the children to look at the signpost and think about what they have been doing recently. Have they been walking along ‘the good way’? In a few moments of quiet, ask the children to think about whether there is something in their lives they need to change.