Lesson 1 – Is God Calling You?

Slide 1 - Zacchaeus' Story

Tell the pupils that we’re going to be looking at God’s call to us.

Start by reading Zacchaeus’ Story in Appendix 1.
This could be done seated on the carpet, away from desks if space permits.

• Then read it again, this time asking two pupils to act out the scene, one as Jesus, one as Zacchaeus, while you read.

• Or, if space is limited, pupils can take turns in reading a few lines of the story each.

Either way, the aim is to get the pupils familiar with the story.

Slide 2 - Zacchaeus' Story

Ask the children to think about why Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus then read the line:

“A man was there named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and he was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was…”

Slide 3 - Zacchaeus' Story

Ask: What do we know about Zacchaeus?

Click once to reveal possible answers:

• He was a tax collector
• He was rich
• He was protected by the Romans because he was collecting taxes for them
• He was short
• He was probably very unpopular amongst the Jews because he took more money than he should have done

Explain that Zacchaeus had a comfortable position in life; he was rich and had a protected job but he wanted something else: to see Jesus.

Ask: What does this tell you about how Zacchaeus was feeling?

Possible Reponses: Curious, unsatisfied, looking for something else, looking for something more.

Explain that in this story, God tells us that we are created for more than just satisfying our own material needs. We are created to love others. Zacchaeus was beginning to recognise this, and it made him want to meet Jesus.

Click to reveal the text:

Zacchaeus was a man who wanted to meet Jesus.

Slide 4 - Zacchaeus' Story

Read the next part of the story on Slide 4.

Slide 5 - Zacchaeus' Story

Ask: What did Zacchaeus do about it?

Click once to reveal possible answers:
• He ran ahead of the crowd
• He climbed a tree
• He changed his outlook

Explain that in the Bible, when people (including Jesus) seek an encounter with God, they often go up somewhere high like a mountain or set themselves apart, away from the crowds. This is exactly what Zacchaeus does.

Click to reveal the text:

He puts himself in the way of Jesus.

Ask: Does Jesus notice this? (Yes!)

Slide 6 - Zacchaeus' Story

Read or have a pupil read the rest of Zacchaeus’ story on Slide 6.

Slide 7 - Zacchaeus' Story

Ask: What happened as a result of Zacchaeus’ meeting with Jesus?

Click once to reveal possible answers:
• Zacchaeus changed his ways, became honest, generous and wanted to make amends,
• Jesus told him he was saved,
• Others in the crowd didn’t like it,

Click to reveal the text:

Zacchaeus heard Jesus’ call, acted on it and gained the satisfaction he was looking for.

Slide 8 - Zacchaeus' Story

Imaginative Writing Exercise

Either hand out a copy Appendix 2 (one per table) or explain the exercise in your own words.

• Explain that this is an exercise for their imaginations.
• Invite pupils to choose one of three different ways in which they can continue or retell Zacchaeus’ story. Advise the pupils to spend time thinking through each of the possible stories and making notes on the sheet, before choosing one.

Give the pupils about 15 minutes to write their chosen piece.

On completion, if you have time, you may like to hear one or two pupils read their story.

Slide 9 - Wanting To Meet Jesus

This is an exercise for pairs.

Explain: We heard that Zacchaeus wanted to meet Jesus. Even though he appeared to have everything, something truly satisfying was missing.

• Give each pair a set of cards from Appendix 3.
• Ask them to look at each card and sort them into two groups: EXPERIENCES or THINGS
• Discuss between themselves which group seems more appealing

Put the following teaching into your own words:

• Very often, we find ourselves wanting THINGS. Often, it’s things we’ve seen advertised, things that money can buy, things that we pester mum and dad for.

• But, when we look back at times we’ve really enjoyed ourselves, it’s often from EXPERIENCES. Frequently, these good experiences involve others and aren’t planned.

• Zacchaeus had money; he would have had lots of THINGS. But there was a part of him that money couldn’t satisfy.

God used Zacchaeus’ unhappiness to lead him to seek Jesus.

Slide 10 - How Do I Meet Jesus?

Introduce the film clip by explaining that we are going to think about how we can Jesus.

Play Film (Joey and Zoe)

Invite some discussion of the film, perhaps asking:

• What does Joey do?
• What does Zoe do?
• How are their attitudes different? Why?

Joey is comfortable talking to God, it’s a normal part of life.
For Zoe, it is new.

Remind the pupils what Zacchaeus did when he wanted to meet Jesus.
– He put himself in the way of Him.

Prayer / talking to God is how we can put ourselves in the way of Jesus and have the sort of easy connection that Joey has.

Slide 11 - How Do I Meet Jesus?

In pairs, ask the pupils to brainstorm as many prayers and as many ways of praying that they can think of

• Prayers: The Rosary, Our Father, Morning Offering
• Ways of praying: Meditation, Asking for help from God, Looking over your day, Thanksgiving

Take a few responses, illustrating any that appear to be unfamiliar and then click to reveal some examples of simple ways of chatting to Jesus.

Discuss how the pupils could fit these prayer times into ordinary life and emphasise that it’s good to have natural conversations with Jesus and quiet times as well as ‘set’ prayers that they’ve been taught.

Slide 12 - Plenary and Prayer

Summarise the lesson in these or your own words:

• Zacchaeus changed after meeting Jesus. This shows that he heard Jesus’s call and his life began moving in another direction.

• God wants more for us than we sometimes choose for ourselves. He calls us to love others. This is how we start to become truly satisfied.

• We need to listen for God’s call, like Joey did. We can start by including prayer in our daily lives.

Individually, ask the pupils to write a few sentences saying what they know now that they didn’t at the start of the lesson and what they’ll do differently as a result.

Slide 13 - Plenary and Prayer

Finish the lesson with a few minutes in the company of Jesus.

• Ask the pupils to get comfortable and close their eyes.
• Invite them to imagine themselves as Zacchaeus, waiting for Jesus to come by. When he comes past and wants to talk, just tell Him how you’re feeling. How the day has gone so far, what’s on your mind.
• Let the pupils have a few minutes imagining this conversation.

Invite the pupils to open their eyes and finish with the sign of the cross.

Music: Created in You