Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Elisha and his servant to teach children about generosity and helping others.
Needed: Bibles, pennies
Intro Game: Disciple Tag
Choose one student to be It. When they tag someone, that person links hands with them and joins their team. They continue adding people to their team, linking hands with each one until all but one student is part of their chain. That remaining student becomes It for the next round.
Play two or three rounds and then, say that you’ll explain why you played that version of tag after the lesson.
Say, Last time, we learned about how Elijah went up to Heaven. Does anyone remember how Elijah got to Heaven? (God sent a fiery chariot down to get him and carry him up to Heaven.)
Then Elijah’s helper, Elisha, became an even greater prophet than Elijah. Today, we’re going to learn about one of the miracles Elisha did for someone.
(Read 2 Kings 5:1 with your students.)
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.”
Who was Naaman? (He was the army commander for Aram, one of Israel’s enemies.)
And what disease did Naaman have? (Leprosy.)
Does anyone know what leprosy does to you? (Leprosy is a disease that makes your skin rot off and makes you look kind of like a zombie. It can even make your nose or ears or fingers or toes fall off.)
(Read 2 Kings 5:2-7 with your students.)
“Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. ‘By all means, go,’ the king of Aram replied. ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him [a lot] of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: ‘With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.’
As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, ‘Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!’”
Why is the king of Israel upset? (The king of Aram sent his army commander, Naaman, to Israel so that Naaman could be cured of his leprosy. But the king of Israel can’t cure leprosy so he thinks the king of Aram will get mad and attack him because he couldn’t cure Naaman’s leprosy.)
(Read 2 Kings 5:8-12 with your students.)
“When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: ‘Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’
“But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.”
Why is Naaman angry? (Because Naaman wanted Elisha to do a special miracle for him to cure him of his leprosy, but Elisha didn’t even come out of his house to see Naaman. He just sent his servant to tell Naaman to go wash in the river. Naaman thought Elisha was tricking him because he knew that just washing in the river usually wouldn’t be enough to heal him of his leprosy.)
(Read 2 Kings 5:13-14 with your students.)
“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleansed”!’ So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”
How did simply washing in the river heal Naaman? (Washing in the river usually wouldn’t have been enough to heal Naaman, but God did a miracle for Naaman and healed him.)
When Naaman did what Elisha said and went to wash in the river, God did a miracle for him. If we want God to help us, then we have to do what He says. How do we know what God wants us to do? (The Bible tells us what God wants us to do.)
If we do the right things that God tells us to do in the Bible, then He will help us.
(Read 2 Kings 5:15-16 with your students.)
“Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.’
The prophet answered, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.’ And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.”
Why didn’t Elisha want Naaman to pay him for healing him? (Elisha didn’t want money for healing Naaman. He only wanted to help him.)
God likes it when we help people for free. We shouldn’t always do things for money. We should do things because we want to help people.
And did Elisha care that Naaman was one of Israel’s enemies? (No.)
Even though Naaman was one of Israel’s enemies, Elisha still helped him. God likes it when we help everyone, even the people we don’t like very much.
(Read 2 Kings 5:17 with your students.)
“’If you will not [take anything],’ said Naaman, ‘please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord.’”
Naaman said that he was only going to worship the real God now, and not any of the fake gods. Why do you think Naaman decided to believe in the real God? (Because God and Elisha had healed him from his leprosy.)
That’s why we should help other people too. Sometimes, when we help people in God’s name, it makes them want to believe in God, and God is happy when more people believe in Him. God loves them and wants them to go to Heaven when they die so that they can live forever with Him.
Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of two or three. Have each group decide on and act out one way that they can help someone and convince them to believe in Jesus. Name some outreach activities that your church does if students need help thinking of something.
Read 2 Kings 5:18-20 with your students.
“’But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.’
“’Go in peace,’ Elisha said.
“After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, ‘My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.’”
Elisha said he wouldn’t take any money for helping Naaman because he only wanted to help Naaman, but what is Elisha’s servant doing? (He’s going to try to get something from Naaman.)
Do you think Gehazi, the servant, is doing the right thing or the wrong thing by trying to get something from Naaman?
(Read 2 Kings 5:21-22 with your students.)
“So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. ‘Is everything all right?’ he asked.
“’Everything is all right,’ Gehazi answered. ‘My master sent me to say, “Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them [some] silver and two sets of clothing.”’”
Did Elisha send Gehazi to say that? (No.)
So Gehazi is lying and trying to get money for himself.
(Read 2 Kings 5:23-27 with your students.)
“’By all means, take [the silver],’ said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the [pieces of] silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
“When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, ‘Where have you been, Gehazi?’
“‘Your servant didn’t go anywhere,’ Gehazi answered.
“But Elisha said to him, ‘Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.’ Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.”
What happened to Gehazi because he lied? (He got Naaman’s disease of leprosy.)
So, remember, God likes it when we help people for free because it’s nice to help people and because maybe when we help people in God’s name, that will make them want to believe in God as we do. Then, they will get to go to Heaven when they die and live forever with God.
Game: Disciple Tag
Play the intro game again and then, explain that when we tell people about Jesus, we want them to believe in Jesus too. If they do, they become a Christian and join our team. Then, they help us tell more people about Jesus.
Game: Give it Away
Remind students that Elijah wanted to help Naaman for free, but Gehazi was greedy. To help them not be greedy, you’re going to play a game about money.
Divide students into two teams. Give one team a handful of pennies. Have them keep as much as they think they need, giving a rationale for each cent. Question their decision on what they need to keep their money for and what they don’t. You are trying to get them to see the difference between needs and wants.
Tell them to give away the rest, putting it into an offering plate. The leader takes some of that money, explaining that it’s for the church to pay its bills, and then gives the rest to the other team. Now, ask the second team to keep what they need from what they’ve been given by the first team. Again, they put their extra into the offering.
Then, the leader pulls out more money to give to the first team to reward them for their generosity. The more they gave away during their round, the more they receive as a reward from God. They are also given the offering from team two. This is how offering works and how God rewards us for it.
Play three rounds. At the beginning of each round, the money that the teams kept is “spent” on their necessities and recycles back into the leader’s supply.
Lord, make us generous and giving like Elisha was. Help us want to help people in Your name so that they can believe in You. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.