Sheep Without a Shepherd
Anything written in italics is for your information and need not be read aloud.
GATHER FOR THIS LESSON: Leader sheets, Bibles Cheerios, Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, Grape nuts, bowls, mini candy bars, 3-4rolls of toilet tissue, a trash bag, Best and Worst hand out, pens

A sheep without a shepherd is not a free sheep – even though it may seem so – rather it is a stray and simply lost.

Key Scriptures: Genesis 2:18, Psalm 46:10, Matthew 6:6; 14:22-23, Mark 6:30-34, Psalm 103:1-18, Matthew 9:35-38, Luke 10:25-37, Colossians 3:12-14

For on line viewers –

SAY: Solitude is a rare thing these days. Some people will tell you we’re too busy, over committed, and over stimulated (True). Others will say our society is growing more isolated as people spend more time alone in front of the TV, video games, or the computer (Also true). Does solitude have a place in modern-day society?

You don’t have to be a monk to enjoy the amazing spiritual benefits of solitude. Whether you’re over committed or under socialized, “alone time” with God is an essential spiritual discipline that teenagers need more than ever. Unfortunately it’s not something that comes naturally to most young people, this Sunday we’re going to look at compassion and solitude and why they’re important and how you can easily integrate them into your lives.

Needed: Cheerios, Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, Grape nuts, bowls, mini candy bars
Before this lesson, prepare the foods by placing one of each in bowls and stacking them to use later. have the bag of candy ready for later.

SAY: We’re going to try a little experiment. I’m going to pass out a bowl full of deliciousness. Try each sample and silently decide which one has the most flavor.
After everyone has tasted the samplings continue.

• Which was the most tasteless and which was tastiest?
• How can solitude become like tastelessness?
• What is compassion? (pity, sympathy, empathy, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, charity)

Pass out the mini candy bars

READ aloud: Job 6:6-7 6 Don’t people complain about unsalted food? Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg? 7 My appetite disappears when I look at it; I gag at the thought of eating it! (NLT)

• Why would Job compare advice without compassion to food with no flavor?
• When we‘re hurting, why do we get tired of other people‘s advice?

READ aloud: Job 2:12-13 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

• Why didn‘t Job‘s friends speak to him? (Think about the story of Job… Lots of suffering.)
• What is the kind of compassion we should have for others? How do we get that compassion?
• When has a friend shown compassion to you?
• How has God shown compassion to you? How do you respond to God‘s compassion?

Needed: 3-4 rolls of toilet tissue, one per triad, big trash bag
Have youth get in groups of three.

SAY: In a moment, I’ll choose one person in each group to be an accident victim. The rest of you are going to treat your victim by wrapping him or her in “bandages” (hold up a roll of toilet tissue). Here’s the catch, one person in the group will treat their patient with compassion, while the other will treat their patients unkindly—without touching them with anything.

When everyone understands the activity, toss one roll of toilet tissue to each group. The person in each group who catches the roll gets to be the “accident victim.” On “go,” have teenagers begin treating their patients. Call “switch” at least once during the activity so that the kind helpers become unkind helpers.

After a few minutes, have group members stop the activity and trash the toilet tissue (otherwise they’ll play with it).

• What was it like to go from being unkind to compassionate? from compassionate to unkind?
• Was being compassionate or being unkind easier for you? Explain.
• How do you define “compassion”?
• How important do you think it is for Christians to be compassionate? Explain.

READ aloud: Saul hated David and yet David showed kindness toward Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth.
2 Samuel 9:3-10 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” 4 “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” 5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. 6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. 7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” 8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” 9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.”

Tell youth to raise both feet for 10 seconds if they agree with each of the statements below or raise one foot for 10 seconds if they disagree. After each response, have volunteers who agreed and disagreed tell why they chose that particular response.

• David had a choice in how to treat Mephibosheth.
• David felt sorry for Mephibosheth.
• Being compassionate takes lots of work.
• Being unkind is easy.
• Being compassionate can be a way to reach out to non-Christians.

Needed: Best and Worst Hand out, pens
SAY: compassion isn’t always easy, especially when others are unkind to us. But it’s an important ingredient in our Christian walk. Christian young people often are bombarded with actions or activities that are to be avoided. They are encouraged less frequently to engage in actions and activities that do good to those they have the power to help. It is these acts that spell out the reality of faith to others. And with God’s help, we can use compassion to reach to them as well.

What if some of your friends saw someone being mugged or attacked on the sidewalk outside your house? I’m going to hand out a list of possible actions you decide which is the best thing to do and which is the worst, put a w for worst and a B for best.
____ Get a video camera and tape the attack.
____ Get Dad’s shotgun.
____ Run outside and scream and yell.
____ Call 911 and watch what happens.
____ Close the window blinds and watch TV.
____ Run for the first aid kit.
____ Call the neighbors.
____ Command your dog to attack the mugger.
____ Follow the attacker at a distance.
____ Try to mug the mugger or attacker.

Which of these behaviors would be the best thing to do? How about the worst? Let them defend their opinions and decide as a group what would be the best solution and why.

SAY: Compassion . . . it’s not natural. But Jesus has taught us to treat not only our neighbors, but also our enemies, with compassion. It may be the least natural response, but Jesus didn’t give his followers an option. And Jesus not only talked about it; he also demonstrated how to do it.

The ideas presented today explore how we all need a certain amount of solitude and this unnatural phenomenon called compassion. By learning how to feel and express compassion, you will not only become a more heartfelt follower of Jesus, but you’ll also discover that your world stretches past your own personal concerns. You’ll discover that you can affect others—and your world—in a positive way.

Decide if you want to lead the prayer or have a youth do it.
The Prayer of Compassion from Mother Teresa
PRAY: Lord, open our eyes that we may see you in our brothers and sisters. Lord, open our ears
that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed. Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us. Renew in us your spirit. Lord, free us and make us one. Amen

If you still have time, here’s a little bit “more”
Rags and Brags
Each youth should take turns sharing a good thing that happened in the last few days and a bad thing in the same time frame. If you’re worried about time – Do one Rag or Brag per person, their choice.