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Lent - What Is Really Important?

by Us (formerly USPG)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To explore the idea of Lent as a time to give up things that tempt us and reflect on what are the real priorities in life.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the Bible story of the temptation Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1–11) so that you can tell it in the ‘Assembly’, Step 4. If you have time, you could prepare three students to read the story, with one as narrator, one as Satan and one as Jesus. For a slightly tongue-in-cheek version of the story, see:
  • You may like to have some images to accompany the story and the means to display them if you do. Alternatively, to illustrate the three points, you could find images of a stone, a high place (with a long drop) and a glorious king or emperor.
  • You can find the full story of the Sri Lankan flood mentioned in the ‘Assembly’, Step 9, as told by the Revd Andrew Devadason in the Us ‘The gospel in action’ Lent course for 2015, ‘Study 2: The gospel challenges how we live’, at:


  1. Who has given something up for Lent?

    Take some of the ideas volunteered by the students.

  2. Lent is a time when people traditionally give up something that they find really tempting, but why do you think we do this? 

    Again, take some of the students’ suggestions.

  3. There are lots of reasons for giving these things up, but, whatever our individual reasons, doing so is an opportunity to take time to reflect on our lives and think about what is really important – what our priorities are, what we definitely want to spend our time and energy on.

  4. Christians who give something up during Lent, think about when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. He was given three tests. Do any of you know what they were?

    Tell the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness yourself or your chosen alternative.

  5. After 40 days out in the desert, Jesus must have been ravenous, but he still refused to turn stones into bread. Although he trusted in God, he refused to test God in an inappropriate way. Also, although he was offered the chance to rule as a mighty king over the whole world, he wouldn’t accept the offer from someone evil. 

    Jesus made these careful and surprising decisions about what he needed and what was important to him. I wonder if we would have made the same decisions  . . .

  6. What are the things we want in life – things that tempt us, things we don’t really need? How much of our ‘stuff’ is really important?

    If there’s time, get some feedback from the students.

  7. What do we want to be when we are older – rich, famous, powerful? Why do we think these things are good? Is it because we believe that some people are better than others? That people who have a lot of things are more important or popular? 

    If there’s time, get some feedback from the students.

  8. Although we have the chance to choose to give things up during Lent, other people are not so lucky. They may have the things they love taken away and have no choice in the matter.    

  9. Two years ago, in a country on the other side of the world called Sri Lanka, a terrible flash flood wiped away most of a village. The people there lost everything they had. Perhaps you remember a similar thing happening in areas of the UK. 

    The flooding in Sri Lanka gave the local priest the chance to think about what is important in life. He realized that, once you take away all our belongings, everyone becomes equal again. He described it as being like a chess set. In chess, some pieces are more important and powerful than others. There is only one queen and it can make lots of different moves. There are, however, lots of pawns, but they can only move one square at a time. They don’t seem very important in comparison. At the end of the game, however, all of the pieces are put back in the same box – the queen with the pawns, the knights with the bishops and the king, all equal. 

    In the same way, when we stop thinking about all our things, we are equal, too. In the end, it is more important to remember that everyone is equal than it is to focus on people’s popularity, possessions or position in life.

Time for reflection

Take a moment to reflect on the things and people that you think are important in life.

Which of those things are really important and which do you think you could live without?

What will you do this Lent to try to focus more on what’s really important in life?

You challenge us with your uncomfortable truths and make us think again about what we spend our time, money and energy on. 
Bring your light into the dark corners of our lives.
Open our ears, our eyes, our hearts and our minds and give us courage to act on what we find.


 ‘He gave me eyes so I could see’ (Come and Praise, 18)

‘We are climbing Jesus’ ladder’ (Come and Praise, 49)

Publication date: March 2015   (Vol.17 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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