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Giving and Receiving

The importance of being generous

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us to be generous.

Preparation and materials


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the following questions (the answers are in brackets).

    - Does anyone know the name of the saint represented in this picture? (St Francis of Assisi)
    Does anyone know which country St Francis lived in? (Italy)
    Does anyone know which century he lived in? (The twelfth and thirteenth centuries)
    - Does anyone know what he is famous for? (Caring for animals and the environment. He is the patron saint of Italy and of animals.)

  2. As well as being known as the patron saint of animals, St Francis is known for some of his wise sayings.

    Show Slide 2.

    One of his wise sayings is, ‘It is in giving that we receive.’

    Ask the children what they think this saying might mean.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Explain to the children that the story that you are going to tell them is about a little boy who gave everything he had. Ask the children to listen carefully and see if they can work out what he received in return.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    The Feeding of the 5,000

    Wherever Jesus went, people seemed to follow him. They wanted to hear what he had to say and they especially wanted to see him perform miracles and make people better. Sometimes, though, Jesus wanted to be on his own or spend a bit of time with his friends, the disciples.

    One day, when it was time to celebrate the Passover feast, Jesus and his disciples jumped into a boat and rowed across Lake Galilee. They were hoping to climb into the mountains for a bit of peace and quiet, but when they looked behind them, they saw that an enormous crowd had followed them!

    Jesus felt sorry for all of these people, so he did what he normally did – he started to teach them more about God. In fact, he taught them all day. When evening came, they were all very hungry. Jesus called one of his disciples, Philip, over to him.
    ‘These people are starving,’ he said. ‘Go and get them something to eat, will you?’
    ‘You must be joking!’ replied Philip. ‘There are more than 5,000 people here! It would take more than six months’ wages to buy enough food for them all.’
    Andrew, another of the disciples, joined the discussion.
    ‘Excuse me,’ he said, ‘but there is a young boy here with a packed lunch. He only has five small loaves of bread and two fish, though. That won’t go far among all these people.’
    ‘Let’s see what we can do,’ said Jesus. ‘First of all, get everyone to sit down on the grass.’
    As the people settled down on the grass, Jesus took the food from the little boy, held it up high and thanked God for it. Then, he started breaking the food into small pieces and distributing it to the crowd.

    The disciples’ mouths dropped open in amazement – the food just kept coming and there was plenty for everyone to eat. When everyone was full, Jesus gave his disciples one final command, saying, ‘Go and gather up all the leftover food so that we don’t waste anything.’

    The disciples did as they were told and collected twelve basketfuls of leftover food: one for each of them!

Time for reflection

When that little boy in the story set off from home in the morning, he had no idea that his packed lunch would be used to feed over 5,000 people. However, God had a different plan and the packed lunch has become the subject of one of the best-known stories in the Bible! The little boy wasn’t very old and he didn’t have a lot to offer. However, he was very generous with what he did have and God blessed him and many others because of that generosity. In the Bible, we can find several stories about children. By reading these stories, we learn that God values children highly and often has important jobs for them to do.

Show Slide 4.

Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and talk about the two questions on the slide.

- The little boy in the story gave an awful lot – what do you think he received in return?
What kind of things could you be generous with here in your school?

 Listen to a range of responses.

We can be generous with many things other than money. We can be generous with our time, possessions and friendships, and in many other ways. Being among generous people makes everyone feel good, so let’s all try to be especially generous this week.

Show Slide 5.

Dear God,
Thank you that the little boy in the story was so generous with his packed lunch.
Please help us all to be generous and willing to share whatever we can with others.

Alternatively, you may wish to use St Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer, which is shown on Slides 6-8.


‘The prayer of St Francis (Make me a channel of your peace)’ (Come and Praise, 147)
(The words are available on Slides 6-8.)

Publication date: April 2017   (Vol.19 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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