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When I was Hungry (Sheep and Goats 2)

August 9, 2010

The ability to read from multiples perspectives is also a valuable tool for reading the Bible and one I have tried to encourage in a number of Stories on the Way lessons.

This, the second lesson on the parable of the sheep and goats, invites the students to think of themselves as those in need rather than as those who help. I think this is an important perspective for three reasons. First, kids in general are often in a position of receiving help. Second, some of the kids in our churches are in families who need the kinds of help Jesus calls upon us to give. Third, playing with perspective helps build compassion for those in need and, hopefully, helps prevent complacent, self-satisfied charity.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • You need to be sensitive to the real needs of your students. The lesson would play out quite differently for kids whose only experience of hunger is needing an after school snack from their family’s well-stocked fridge than for kids whose families receive support from the food pantry. Similar ranges of need could exist with regards to every point in the story. Do not allow need to become a competition. Do not put kids on the spot. If something bigger than you are equipped to handle arises, talk to your priest/pastor.
  • You need to print out copies of the picture of Jesus (linked below).

When I was Hungry


  • plain drawing paper
  • crayons/markers/pencil crayons
  • scissors
  • glue
  • copies of a picture of Jesus

Open with prayer. (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Have you ever been hungry or thirsty?

Did someone help you? Who? What did they do?

Have you ever been sick and had to stay in bed or even go to the hospital?

How did it make you feel? Lonely? Bored? Sad?

Did anyone visit you? Who?

Have you ever been the new kid? Maybe at a new school or in a new club? How did that feel?

Did anyone make you feel welcome? Who?

Today, we are going to read a story that Jesus told his disciples. Jesus used stories to teach people about how they should live – this story talks about helping people who need things like you did. Let’s see what Jesus says.

Read the Story

When the Son of Man comes in glory with all the angels, he will sit on the throne and be the king of the whole world. All the people in the world will be gathered in front of him, and he will sort the people into two groups just like a shepherd sorts the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the king will say to the people at his right hand,

“You are blessed by my Father. Come into the wonderful kingdom that God has prepared for you because when I was hungry, you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.”

Then these good and happy people will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?”

The king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, whenever you did it to anyone, even unimportant people, you did it to me because they are all members of my family.”

(Matthew 25:31-40)


Who do you think the king was in the story? (Jesus)

And who was the king’s Father? (God)

What were the things that the good people did?

Help the students name all six good works. If necessary, you can identify the needs and get the students to name the remedies. If enough of the students were present for With Actions, invite them to do the actions.

We usually read this story and think about ourselves as the people helping. That’s a good way to read it – we are often able to help. But we could also read this story and think about ourselves as the people who need help – because sometimes we do need help. Before we read the story, we talked about times when we had been hungry or thirsty or sick. Maybe there have also been times when you or someone you know needed clothes or was in prison. (Depending on your circumstances, I would suggest allowing a brief pause in case someone wants to share a story but not asking directly.)

In Jesus’ story, the king said that the people had helped him. What did he say when they asked when they had seen him in need? (helping others is helping him)

So when your mom or dad gives you food, they are also helping Jesus. When you keep your brother or sister company while they are sick, you are also helping Jesus.

Use a few examples from the discussion, either in addition to the one’s above or instead of them.

Introduce the Activity

We are going to make pictures of stories from our own lives. Think of a time when someone helped you or someone you love with one of the problems from the story. Tell me what the problems are again…

Draw a picture of that story and we’ll do something special to your picture when you’re all done.

Self-Portraits with a Twist

Distribute plain paper and colouring supplies.

When their pictures are done, distribute , glue, and the pictures of Jesus. Direct the students to cut out Jesus and glue him on the person being helped in their picture.  They may prefer to just use his head.


How would it feel to know you were helping Jesus?

How does it feel to think of being Jesus when someone helps you?

Does anyone want to tell us about their picture?

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for the people who help us. May they know that they are helping Jesus. Amen.

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