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Little Acorns

Great oaks from little acorns grow

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us to believe that we can do great things, even while we are still children.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available some images of acorns and an oak tree, and the means to display them during the assembly:

    - acorns, available at:
    - an oak tree, available at:

  • You will also need to wrap up two parcels. One parcel should be large and beautifully wrapped in bright paper with ribbons, but contain only one sweet. The other present should be scruffily wrapped in an old envelope or some tattered paper, but contain a whole packet of sweets.


  1. Show the image of the acorns.

    Ask the children whether they know what the image shows.

    Ask them if they have ever heard the saying ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’. Ask what they think the saying could mean. Suggest that it probably means that great things can come from small beginnings.

  2. Show the image of the oak tree.

    Explain that ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’ is the theme of today’s assembly.

  3. Show the two wrapped parcels to the children.

    Ask for two volunteers to choose a parcel to unwrap. Ask them why they chose that particular parcel.

    Ask the children to unwrap the parcels, and then ask if they were surprised by what they contained. Did they think that the bigger parcel would contain a bigger present? Suggest that things are not always what they seem to be on the outside.

  4. Explain that there are many stories in the Bible about children. The stories teach us that God values children highly and often has important jobs for them to do. Today’s story is about a young boy called David.

    Choosing a New King

    Samuel had been leading the Israelites for a long time, and he had made a very good job of it. However, now he was becoming quite an old man. The people said to Samuel, ‘Actually, we’d rather like a king to lead us – like all the other countries around us.’

    Samuel felt sad about this because he knew that God was meant to be their real king. However, God said, ‘OK, let them have a king, but warn them that it won’t make their lives any easier!’

    Samuel found the people a king called Saul. Saul was a good king to begin with, but then things began to go wrong. God spoke to Samuel again. ‘It’s time to find another king. Go to Bethlehem and find the house of a man called Jesse. Jesse has eight sons, and one of them will be the new king. Don’t worry, I’ll show you which one and, by the way, don’t forget to take a small bottle of oil with you!’

    So, Samuel set off for Jesse’s house. Jesse made Samuel welcome and went to get his eldest son. Eliab was a handsome, strapping young man. ‘This must be the one!’ thought Samuel immediately.

    God had other plans, though. ‘Wrong!’ he replied to Samuel. ‘The fact that he is tall doesn’t mean that I have chosen him to be king. Many people judge others by what they look like, but I judge others by what is in their hearts.’

    Jesse sent his next son, Abinadab, to Samuel, but Samuel said, ‘No, it’s not him either!’

    Jesse’s sons were sent to Samuel one at a time and each time, God told Samuel to say, ‘No, this is not the one who will be king!’

    Samuel began to feel a bit desperate, and he said to Jesse, ‘God has not chosen any of these young men to be king. Do you have any other sons?’

    ‘Only young David, who is out in the field looking after the sheep,’ Jesse replied.

    ‘Please send for him as quickly as you can,’ said Samuel.

    As soon as Samuel saw the young boy, God whispered in his ear, ‘He’s the one! Remember that oil you brought with you? Go and pour it over his head to show everybody that David is my choice.’

    So, in front of David’s whole family, Samuel poured oil on David’s head as a sign that, young as he was, he had been chosen by God to be king over his people and that God would be with him in this task.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and talk about the following question.

- How do you think the young boy, David, must have felt when he found out that God had chosen him to be king?

Listen to a range of responses.

It must have been a frightening prospect for a young boy, yet he must also have felt special and honoured to know that God trusted and believed in him, even at such a young age. In addition, it must have been a relief that this choice was not based on how tall David was or what he looked like.

None of us is likely to become royalty. However, the story reminds us that we should not simply look at how people appear on the outside – what is on the inside is far more important! All of us have a purpose in our lives and, as we grow older, that will become clear to us. However, even as children, we have important roles to play. There are things that we can do in school or at home that no one else may notice, but God sees them and cares about them.

Dear God,
Thank you that you value all children.
Thank you that you do not judge anyone by their appearance,
But rather you look to see what they are like on the inside.
Please help us to do the same.
Please help us to do good things as we move through our lives.
Please help us as we prepare for our future.


‘I’m special’ by Graham Kendrick, available at: (2.53 minutes long)

Publication date: December 2023   (Vol.25 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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