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Parable of the Precious Pearl

Title: Pearl of Great Price: The Kingdom of God

Subject: The Parable of the Precious Pearl

Age: 3 to 10 years

Doctrinal Content: The mystery of the Kingdom of God and the infinite value of God's gift.

Direct Aim: The direct aim of this lesson is to set afire in the child the great and precious gift of God, that precious pearl, so that the child may fall more deeply in love with God.

Indirect Aim: Indirectly, this lesson intends to open the children's eyes to the value of the kingdom of heaven so they may consider the fact that it is so great, that it is more valuable than anything else around us; to set afire wonder and awe and to experience the great joy of this gift; to realize the gift of God is in us but it does not come from us, and to lay the groundwork for future parables of the Kingdom of God.

Materials for the Lesson:
Scripture Booklet or Bible
Matthew 13:45-46
Candles, snuffer, matches
Small house
Statue of Pearl Merchant
One precious pearl in shell
Several containers with pearls
Sing with Joy: Music for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Lesson Plan:
Invite and gather the children for a presentation. Introduce the text to open our ears, the catechist says: "Do you remember a parable by Jesus? It was a parable about the mustard seed. Remember a parable is a story about one thing, like the mustard seed, but it really teaches us about something else, like the Kingdom of Heaven. This is another parable about the Kingdom of heaven. This parable uses a different image. I am going to read to you words of Jesus, so let us light a candle (Light candle). Settle down and take a big breath. Let's listen about the Kingdom of heaven.

The catechist solemnly reads the text of Matthew 13:45-46: ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.'

The catechist says, "A merchant is a person who buys and sells things. Let's listen to this parable again. We know Jesus' words are deep. We need to listen long and deep. I have some materials to help us. I have a model of an idea of the merchant's house. What it might look like. (Set out the house) I have a statue of the merchant. (Set out the merchant) He bought and sold pearls so he probably had quite a few pearls. (Set out containers of pearls) I am going to put them in here. Now the parable says the merchant is in search of fine pearls. It is what he does until one day the merchant finds one pearl of great value. He went and sold all that he had (Move merchant to push out barrels of pearls, one by one). And he bought it, the one, this very valuable pearl. (Put precious pearl in house) Let's talk about that. He had so many and now he has just one.

Discussion Questions: Do you think he is happy about that? Why? It is really valuable, more valuable than all the others. It must have been because he sold all the others. Do you think the merchant knows a valuable pearl when he sees one? How? It was his job. Imagine when he found this one, he really wanted it. He wanted it more than all his others. He was happy because it is very valuable. Does he think it is beautiful? Pearls are beautiful, aren't they? I think this man, the merchant, who spent so much of his life with pearls must have felt amazing joy when got this pearl. Do you think he will ever sell this pearl?

Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven is like this merchant who searched for fine pearls. Who finds one of great value and sells all he has for this one valuable pearl. What does this say about the kingdom of heaven? How is the Kingdom of God like this? It is valuable, the most valuable thing. Do you think it is beautiful? Does it bring joy like this one precious pearl of great value? The man searched for it. He found a lot of pearls, all very beautiful. This one was the most beautiful.

Prior to inviting the children to do activities, say "This work is here. You should get this out and think about the words of Jesus if it interests you. You can move the merchant like I did. If you don't remember the words, you may ask me or a friend to read them to you. Jesus really wanted you to know about His Kingdom of Heaven." (Put material away) End in a song, don't hurry. Leave some silence and quiet time to meditate. Invite prayers, to say in heart or out loud.

Activities include an art response, reading from a scripture booklet, tracing or copying scripture booklet, prayer, a tracing packet of pictures and selected verses.

Alternate Activity:

  • Give each child a blank piece of paper, and something to write/draw with, tell them that they will be given instructions one step at a time.
  • Once the children have settled say to them: "You will have two minutes to list or draw things you like or are important to you, the challenge is to write or draw as many things as you can that you like in two minutes. Do not begin until I say, ‘go.' Remember this is your list, so you should list things that you like or things that are important to you, this can be anything from ice cream to football. However, you may want to consider other things that are not things, like Mom, friends, love, etc."
  • With a watch in hand, say "go" and time the children, give them a countdown, "one minute," "30 seconds," "10 seconds," "times up, pencils down."
  • Now say: "OK, now that you have your list of things, I want you to circle the ten most important things, you will have two minutes to choose, ready, go."
  • Time them and give them a count down.
  • Now say: "At this point you should have only 10 things circled, these are the ten most important things on your list. Now, I want you to take your ten most important things and put them in order of most important to least important. On the back side of your paper write the numbers one through ten on the left hand side (you should have an example sheet for them with things on the front, it should have items circled, and then on the back a list of numbers on the left hand side of one through ten with your list of things on it). Then when I say, ‘go' you will have 2 minutes to decide what is your most favorite and important thing on your list and what is number ten."
  • With watch in hand, say go, and give them a count down.
  • When you have stopped them, invite the children to share there lists from the front side, what they circled, what they put as first, and how/why they made those decisions.
  • Ask and see if God made the list, and if not why, if so why, and have them consider the parable once again.
  • Now have them make a new list of one through ten.
  • This time tell them: "Now I want you to make a new list of numbers one through ten, again on the back of the paper next to your first list, and once again I will give you two minutes to complete this exercise. This time, however, I want to see if you can list ten things that would be on Jesus' list and try and put them in order of most important to least important, with the most important thing being number one. If you can't come up with ten things try and come up with as many as you can."
  • Time them and give them a count down.
  • When they have finished have them discuss the lists they came up for Jesus. See if they put the Kingdom of Heaven on their list. If not, why, if so, why, and then again remind them of the parable.
  • As a final consideration, say, "When we listen to this parable where does Jesus seem to be putting the Kingdom of Heaven, on the top or bottom of the list? Where does he want us to put it?"
  • Final exercise: "Let me see if you can come up with 5 ways to make the Kingdom of Heaven the most precious thing, this list should be on the back of your paper next to Jesus' list of top ten. And I also want you to choose 5 things from your top ten list that you would be willing to give up and cross off your list to make the Kingdom of Heaven your most precious thing. One last time I will give you a couple of minutes to do this (this exercise will go on the back of their sheet of paper)."
  • Time them and give them a count down.
  • Invite the children to take this worksheet home and place it on their prayer tables.

Prepared by Mindi Armatas, St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church

Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at


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