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Pause for Thought: Lots to Share!

We can all be generous

by Alison Thurlow (revised, originally published in 2014)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us to think about generosity and being cheerful givers.

Preparation and materials

  • If possible, have available some images that illustrate the Bible story of Zacchaeus and the means to display them during the assembly. Some examples are available at:


  1. Ask the children whether they like receiving presents. Next, ask them to think back to all the presents they received at Christmas and add up how many there were. Ask the children to put their hand up when they hear the total that applies to them.

    – More than ten presents?
    – More than 20 presents?
    – More than 30 presents?

  2. Ask the children to do a similar calculation for how many presents they gave to others at Christmas. Ask them to put their hand up when they hear the total that applies to them.

    – More than five presents?
    – More than ten presents?
    – More than 15 presents?

  3. Comment that most of the children seem to have received more presents than they have given.

    Ask the following questions, listening to a range of responses after each one.

    - Who likes receiving presents?
    - Who likes giving presents?
    - Which do you prefer?

  4. Explain to the children that they are now going to hear a Bible story about a man called Zacchaeus.

    Ask the children to listen carefully and look out for how Zacchaeus changed from being someone who took a lot to someone who gave a lot.

  5. Optional: as you read the story, display the images that illustrate it, if using.

    Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

    Once, there was a man called Zacchaeus who lived in a town called Jericho. He was a rich man, but he wasn’t very popular. This was because he was a tax collector and he often cheated people out of their money.

    One day, Jesus came to visit Jericho. Large crowds gathered to see him and lined the sides of the road. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus too, but he was too short to see over the heads of the people in front of him. So, he came up with a clever plan: he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree to get a better view.

    When Jesus reached Zacchaeus’ tree, he looked up and said in a loud voice, ‘Come down, Zacchaeus! I want to have dinner at your house today.’
    The crowd started grumbling loudly. ‘Why does Jesus want to go to Zacchaeus’ house? Doesn’t he know that Zacchaeus is a bad man?’

    Zacchaeus slid down from the tree as quickly as he could and welcomed Jesus into his house.

    Later that day, Zacchaeus came out of his house and said that he had an announcement to make. ‘I’ve done some bad things and now I know that I need to change. I am going to give half of what I own to the poor and if I have cheated anybody, I will pay back four times the amount I stole from you.’

    Jesus told Zacchaeus that he was now part of God’s family. Then, he turned to the crowd and explained that he, Jesus, had been sent by God to share God’s love with everyone, even with people who had done bad things.

  6. Ask the children why they think Zacchaeus changed from being a greedy, selfish man to being a generous man.

    Suggest that, when Zacchaeus met Jesus, his life seemed to change completely and he became a much nicer person.

Time for reflection

Remind the children that there are many things that we can be generous with, not just money. Ask them to turn to the person next to them and spend a few minutes quietly discussing some of the things that they could be generous with or share with others today. They may suggest time, friendship, listening, a kind word, possessions or even a smile.

Listen to a range of responses.

Encourage the children to think of ways in which they could be generous this week.

Dear Lord,
Thank you that, in today’s story, Zacchaeus changed from being greedy to being generous.
Please help us to be generous, and to be cheerful givers in school and at home.


‘Love is something (Magic penny)’, available at: (2.56 minutes long)

Publication date: May 2022   (Vol.24 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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