Have you ever noticed how much Zacchaeus and a Leprechaun have in common?
It just so happened that yesterday we were doing some St. Patrick’s Day artwork and Zacchaeus day in our naptime devotional reading. I started thinking about the things Zacchaeus has in common with a little green-dressed gnome. Naturally, I began to suspect that maybe he was indeed a Leprechaun. Think about it:
- Both love gold
- Both are short
- Both are tricksters
- Both seem to be searching for an elusive treasure
- Both are viewed as “sinners” or people with questionable character
- Both names are ridiculously hard to spell
Of course, Zacchaeus probably wasn’t ACTUALLY a leprechaun, but the idea might serve as a terrific Sunday School lesson for kids. You might want to use it with older kids though so they don’t get confused about the true identity of Zacchaeus. Ready?
It’s Lesson Time!
Supplies to Gather:
- Picture of a leprechaun
- Gold coins
- Picture of Zacchaus or Children’s Bible with Zacchaeus story
- Chalkboard/Whiteboard and writing utensils (optional)
- Pot of Gold coloring page, edited (see below)
- More gold coins or yellow construction paper
Begin by showing kids the picture of a Leprechaun. I particularly like this one from Raising Our Kids:
Ask: Who or what this is?
Help kids successfully identify the dancing little fellow as a Leprechaun
Ask: “What is something that Leprechauns really love?”
Hopefully, the kids will yell, “Gold”. Bring out your gold coins and lay them on the table or pass them around for kids to touch and hold.
Say: What else do you know about Leprechauns?
Allow kids to answer as you write things on the board, being sure to mention “short” or “little” in the conversation.
Say: You know, all these things that you’ve said about Leprechauns kind of remind me of someone in the Bible. Any guesses who?
Show: Hold up the picture of Zacchaeus and ask kids to turn to Luke 19.
Say: There was a man who lived a long time ago who’s name was Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was very short and loved money. In fact, he regularly tricked people into giving him more money than they should. He was a tax collector and he often cheated people and took extra money. He was already rich, but he still wanted more money (sound like anyone else we know?) One day, Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to town. He wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus. Check it out — can someone read me verses five and six?
Allow child to read verses, helping where needed.
Say: Isn’t that amazing? The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Zacchaeus, but I don’t think he was very happy, even with all that money. Just like a Leprechaun who’s always searching for the end of a rainbow, maybe Zacchaeus was always looking for something to make him truly happy. When he met Jesus, he knew that he hadn’t been living the right way. The Bible tells us that he repented of his sins and gave back the money he had wrongfully taken.
Conclude: Even though Leprechauns are just pretend, they can still teach us a lesson. Those little guys are always looking for gold, but did you know that the Bible tells us that wisdom is better than gold? True story! Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” Zacchaeus was able to get wisdom when he talked with Jesus and we can get wisdom by reading the Bible. So, this St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is talking about Leprechaun and gold, remember that the Bible is the best treasure of all!
Print off this coloring page this one from Day Coloring Pages or this one from she knows and either write Proverbs 16:16 inside the pot or have the kids do it. Glue gold coins or yellow construction paper circles to the top.
If kids want to trace and cut the “gold coins” themselves, bring in a few canning jar lids to trace with. It’s easy for the kids to hold the outside and trace the inside.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
More Stuff to Check Out:
- Jesus and Zacchaeus: Mars Hill Sermon
- Bible Verses about Treasures
- St. Patrick’s Day Preschool Homeschool Lesson
- Terrific Adventure in Odyssey book about St. Patrick
- St. Patrick’s Day Lesson from Ministry to Children