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The foolish man

To reflect upon foolishness and wisdom.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To reflect upon foolishness and wisdom.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the story of the wise and foolish men from Matthew 7.24–27.

  • A whiteboard for Time for reflection.
  • You will need the lyrics for 'The wise man built his house upon the rock', which you can find at http://childbiblesongs.com/song-21-wise-man-built-his-house.shtml).

    This is an action song, very popular with smaller children.

Assembly

  1. Tell the children the following story from the country of Sierra Leone.

    The foolish man and the well

    In a village near Dodo there is a very big well. One night, when the moon was full and shining brightly, a foolish man went for a walk. He arrived at the well and looked down into it. At that particular moment the water at the bottom of the well was like a mirror. So the man saw the moon in the water.

    ‘Oh dear, the moon has fallen down the well,’ thought the foolish man. He decided he would have to pull it out. He ran home quickly and fetched a big hook. He untied the water bucket from the rope and replaced it with the hook. Then he slowly let the rope and hook down into the well.

    The hook hit the water with a splash. The man tried to turn the handle but it would not move. He tried and tried but the rope would not budge. ‘The moon is very heavy,’ he thought.

    But it was not the moon. The hook had caught under a very big stone. Eventually, after an hour had passed, and the man’s stamina was almost at an end, the handle suddenly turned and the man, surprised, fell backwards on the ground. He looked up into the sky. There was the moon.

    ‘Good,’ said the foolish man. ‘I have put the moon back in the sky.’
  2. Ask the children why this man was foolish. Identify that he put a lot of time and effort into trying to save the moon from the well – and thought he had done it!

    Tell the children that it reminds us of a story in the Bible where Jesus tells of another foolish man. It seems that this man was doing a sensible thing – building a house, no doubt for his wife and family. To build a house requires hard work and commitment. Houses are not built in a day. So why does Jesus say this man was foolish?
  3. Read the story from Matthew 7.24–27. The foolish man in the story was taking short cuts.

    Explain that this story is a parable; that is, a story with a special meaning. Jesus is comparing himself to a solid rock. He is telling his followers that if they have faith in God and in the Bible, it will give them good and strong foundations for their lives.
     
    God wants us to know and learn how we can build our lives to make them wise and strong and good.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Ask the children to reflect on what they believe to be good foundations for their lives.

On a whiteboard have a section of a wall made with some building bricks. While they are reflecting, add labels to each brick, such as honesty, kindness, loyalty, perseverance, courage.

Prayer

Dear God,
Thank you that you know the good foundations we need to build our lives on.
Help us to be wise, to listen to the truth of your words and to choose your ways.

Amen.

Song/music

‘The wise man built his house upon the rock’

Publication date: April 2009   (Vol.11 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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