Children's Readings

The Cost of Caring for Others

Opening Question: Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you did that was right? What happened?

First Reading: Acts 4:8-12

Peter and John, some of Jesus' first followers and closest friends, went to the Temple in Jerusalem so they could pray. On the way there, they saw a cripple man begging. "Please, kind sirs," the crippled man said to them, "give me some money so I can get something to eat."

"We don't have any money," Peter said to the crippled man. "But we will share with you what we do have. In the name of Jesus the Risen Lord, get up and walk!"

The man stood up. He was healed. The people outside the Temple gathered around Peter, John and the healed man. In fact, there was such a scene, the Temple leaders thought there might be a riot. "Arrest those two men," the high priest commanded the captain of the Temple guard.

Peter and John spent the night in jail. The next day, the guards brought the two Apostles before the assembly of the leaders. "There was a crowd that got too loud. Many in the crowd said you healed a crippled man. Explain what happened."

Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then he said to them, "Leaders! If you interrogate us about doing good for this crippled man, about how he was healed, then you and everyone in Israel should know this! The man was healed in the name of Jesus Christ, the one from Nazareth. He was the one you crucified. He was the one God raised from the dead. Jesus is 'the stone you builders threw away, but the one God set down to hold up the building.' No one else can save us. After all, God did not give people any other name that could save us, but the name of Jesus!"

When the leaders heard this, they got angry with Peter and John. They ordered them whipped, but, since they did not break the law, they had to release them. Peter and John were glad they stood up for doing the right thing. Even if they were punished for it.

Peter and John had two things we all should have. They had compassion, because they helped a man in need. They also had courage, because they stood up for their beliefs. Their compassion and courage came from their faith in their friend, Jesus. Let us pray Jesus will share those things with us.

Bridging Question: Do you have a special pet? Do you care for your pet? How do you care for them?

Gospel: John 10:11-18

Reader 1:

Jesus said to his followers:

Reader 2:

I am the devoted shepherd
who would give his life up for his sheep.
Unlike the shepherd who owns the flock,
the hired worker sees the wolf coming and runs away,
because he doesn't care
if the wolf attacks the flock and scatters the sheep.

Reader 1:

I am the devoted shepherd
who would give his life up for his sheep.
Just like the Father knows me
and I know the Father,
I know my sheep
and they know me.
I have other sheep who do not live in this corral.
They need me to lead them.
They will hear me calling them,
and they will join my other sheep,
so there will be one flock with one shepherd.

Reader 2:

Because I love my sheep,
and because I will lay my life down for them
so I can take it back up again,
my Father loves me.
No one takes my life from me.
I give my life away willingly.
I have the power to lay my life down.
And I have the power to raise it up again.
This is what my Father wants me to do.

Jenise had a great idea to make money over the summer. She would start a pet-sitting business. When people went on vacation, she would feed and walk the pets. For an extra fee, she would wash the pets, clean out litter boxes, bird cages, and rabbit walks. There were lots of people going on vacation in her neighborhood. And there were lots of pets that needed care. The idea seemed perfect.

And it was! When her neighbors heard what she intended to do, her phone began to ring. Her appointment book began to fill up. Before she knew it, her summer was planned.

On the first day, Jenise had five pets to take care of. First, Mrs. Hall's cocker spaniel needed a walk, clean water and food. The Hall's dog run also needed to be cleaned. Then it was on to the Goldstein's house to care for the cat. Third, the Haley's bird needed water, food, and a clean cage. Fourth came the boa constrictor of her brother's friend. Yuch! She had to feed it a mouse. Last, she went to the Cooper's house to care for Mia Cooper's hamster. She had to make sure the hamster didn't run away.

What she thought would take two hours of work turned into four hours. Jenise was stressed and tired went she got home. The schedule for the rest of the week looked as busy as that first day. This was not fun! What was she going to do?

"I thought caring for pets would be easier than this," Jenise complained to her mother. "This is so much work, so much responsibility!"

"Why did you think it would be easy?" her mother asked. "You asked for the work and you got it. Wasn't this your idea?"

Jenise was silent. She knew her mother was right. To make the money would be hard work.

By the end of the summer, Jenise had a bigger bank account. But she had far more. Many of the animals became her part time pets. The friendly dogs, the aloof cats, the squawking birds, the slippery hamsters, all had a special place in Jenise's heart.

People noticed the love and care Jenise gave their pets. Many were asking her to pet-sit during their next vacation. They even gave her a nick-name, the "Pet Girl."

Jesus was the "Good Shepherd," because, like Jenise, he loved his sheep. He worked hard to care for them. Unlike Jenise, Jesus was even willing to die for his sheep. He laid down his life for us, his sheep. But he also had the power to take it back up again for us.

Let us thank Jesus for the wonderful gift of his life and his leadership.

How has Jesus cared for you? How has his followers cared for you? How could you thank Jesus for his care?