Free Psalm 23 Toddler Lesson - Week 10

My Shepherd Leads Me On the Right Path!

Concepts Children Learn:

No matter how much I grow up, I'll always need my shepherd!
When I follow my shepherd, he shows me the right way to go.
My shepherd will always be there for me - to love me and lead me.

Prep: Mark your bible with the memory verse: Psalm 23:3. Print either color story pages or black & white story pages to use with the story: COLOR STORY PAGES: 1, 2 (b&w only), 3, 4, 5 (b&w only), 6. BLACK & WHITE STORY PAGES: 1, 2, 3, 4 (color only), 5, 6. Laminate or cover the story pages that you are using with clear shelf paper to make sturdier ((optional).

Only read words that are not in parentheses for the lesson. The words in parentheses tell you what actions you do. The numbers in parentheses tell you what Story Page to hold up while you are telling the story.

Bible Memory Verse: Psalm 23:3

INTRO: Today we're have another story about the kind shepherd and his little sheep named Marshmallow. As you know from our other stories, Marshmallow always seems to be getting into trouble. Let's listen closely to see what happens to him this week.
(1) One breezy day the shepherd was watching Marshmallow, his little lamb, play in the pasture. He knew it was time to go to a new pasture because there wasn't very much grass left in this one. Most of it had already been eaten. So he said to his little lamb, "Marshmallow, Its time to go to a new pasture. Come with me and I'll take you to a better pasture. I know the right path that leads to the new pasture. Follow me and I will lead you there." But, Marshmallow wanted to stay in the pasture that he was already at. He always had lots of fun playing in this pasture. He didn't want to try a new one. (Shake your head no). He knew that he was growing up; And he thought he could get along O.K., by himself. He wanted to be in-de-pendent. That means that he thought he could take care of himself, and that he didn't need anybody to help him. So he said to his shepherd, "You go ahead. I like this pasture. Maybe I'll come and find you later." So the shepherd just asked him, "How will you know the way without me to lead you?" Marshmallow thought he could find his own way, so he said, "I'll figure it out. I'm smart!" "Well...O.K.", his shepherd said, "But if you need me, just call out for me, and I'll come and find you." "O.k." said Marshmallow.
(2) As the shepherd walked away, a tear rolled down his cheek. He was very sad because he knew that little Marshmallow could not get along by himself. He always seemed to get into some kind of trouble when he was left to himself. And, he wasn't as smart as he thought he was. But, the shepherd would just have to let him find out for himself. How he wished he could show Marshmallow all the new exciting things that were over in the new pasture. But he couldn't give Marshmallow those things if he didn't want them. He wouldn't make Marshmallow follow him. He would just let him decide for himself. So off the shepherd went to the new pasture. Once he got to the new pasture, he got busy preparing it for his little lamb. He planted new grass so Marshmallow would have lots to eat. He cleared out the stream so he would have fresh water to drink. Then he planted Marshmallow's favorite kind of flowers - tulips! Then he built a new shelter for Marshmallow so that when the rain came, he wouldn't get cold and wet. He would stay warm and dry.
(3) Meanwhile, Marshmallow felt proud of himself. Now he was free! Nobody was there to tell him what to do. He felt like he was big enough to take care of himself, and he didn't need anybody to help him. But pretty soon, things were different.
(4) A few days later, Marshmallow had eaten all the grass in this pasture. Now he could see why his shepherd wanted to take him to the new pasture. All he saw now was a bunch of bare spots of dirt where the grass used to be. What would he eat now? He felt kind of hungry. And now the path by the pasture had been walked on so many times, that it was dangerous to walk on. There were many holes that a little lamb could fall into. And the worse thing of all was: He was getting lonely all by himself! He really missed talking to his shepherd. Now he wished he had stayed with his shepherd and followed his shepherd to the new path, like his shepherd asked him to.
Well, now that I'm growing up, I think I can find the new pasture by myself, he thought. I want to do it myself. So he started off to find the new pasture. (5) Soon he came to the part of the path where you could go two different ways. One way went to the right (point to the right), and the other one went to the left (point to the left). Which way should he go? He didn't know. (Shake head no). He decided to go right, but he didn't have a good reason. Then he came to another path that went off to the left. Should he take that path, or stay on the path that he was already on? That was too many decisions for such a little lamb. He didn't know which path was the right path. He needed his shepherd to lead him.

(4 again) Now he was really sad. Oh, how he wished that he had followed his shepherd! His shepherd would have gladly showed him the right way. Soon it started to get dark. Marshmallow got really scared being all by himself with no shepherd. He began to cry. "I just keep getting myself into trouble", Marshmallow cried, "I guess I need my shepherd after all." So Marshmallow started calling out to his shepherd because he remembered what his shepherd had told him. He remembered that his shepherd told him that if he needed him, to call on him, and he would be there. And, guess what?

(6) In just a few minutes, his shepherd was right there by his side! Marshmallow was so happy to see his shepherd that he jumped up into his arms! "I'm so glad to see you! I got lost and couldn't find the new pasture. I didn't know which path was the right one. I'm sorry I didn't follow you. I miss you so much! Can I come and be your little lamb again?!" "You are still my little lamb - my precious little lamb!", his shepherd told him with a big smile on his face. "I told you that I would be here if you called out to me, didn't I? So, here I am to take you home with me. I planted some grass and made you a place to play in the new pasture, and I built you a shelter too! And I've cleared out the stream so you will have lots of fresh water to drink!" "Oh, wow!," said Marshmallow, "I can't wait to see it!" This time Marshmallow was happy to put his paw in his shepherd's hand and follow his shepherd to his new pasture, skipping all the way. How happy they were together again! The End.
CIRCLE TIME: (What does this mean for me?)

As we grow up, we learn a lot of new things, don't we? Can anybody tell me something new that they learned this week? (Allow the children to take turns telling you some new they learned if they want to). Every day there are new things to learn. Sometimes we learn something so well that we can do it all by ourselves! That's a lot of fun to be able to do it ourselves. But, sometimes as people get older, they start thinking that they don't need any help from anybody. But, is that ever true? No-o-o-o. We all need someone to guide us and help us sometimes. Remember how, in the story, Marshmallow thought he could take care of himself. Then he learned that he really did need his shepherd. He needed him to talk to, just like we need Jesus to pray to. He needed his shepherd to care for him. And, he needed him to lead him on the right path too.

Can anybody tell me who our shepherd is? (Give the children a chance to answer). That's right! Jesus is our shepherd! And, we are his little sheep. Jesus is like the kind shepherd that leads us on the right path. If we let him lead us, he will help us follow him and do what's right. He loves us so much that he takes the time to show us the right path. Jesus cares about us so much that he doesn't want us to get lost. He doesn't want us to get hurt either. Isn't it nice to know that we can never get too big for our shepherd? We will always need him. Even grown-ups need their shepherd, Jesus. And, he will always be there for love us and help us and lead us.

PRAYER: Allow children to take turns praying after you or a helper prays.
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