Giving Thanks

Geared Up For Life

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Every fourth week of November, we tell ourselves that Thanksgiving should not just be a once-a-year thing, but a way of living every day. Ephesians 5:15-20 is a call to remember that belief. This brief text sums up with “giving thanks to God the Father at all times.” At all times! What if we held a thanksgiving service here in the middle of August?

Note to Teacher

This week will focus on the two central elements in this passage: being careful/aware and being thankful to God for everything.

Ice Breaker: The Best Persuasion

Before the class, make a set of “best” cards (see the list below) and place them in a bag. Let the students know that you will pull a card out of the bag and they will have thirty seconds to convince the largest number of people to agree with their answer as to what is the best of that category. Students will vote by clumping together with the people they agree with.

Pull a card, read it out loud, and the students will begin trying to convince one another when you say go.

Best categories:

  • Best pizza topping
  • Best type of pet
  • Best fast-food restaurant
  • Best vacation location
  • Best TV show

Virtual option: If you are meeting online, have students take turns making their arguments for their choices for best, and then let people vote in the chat.

Bible Reading

Ephesians 5:15-20


What do you think this passage means by “be careful” in verse 15? (Steer them toward the idea of being aware of the good and bad in their world and paying attention to how they respond, as opposed to the idea of simply avoiding risk.)

Do you agree with the statement in verse 16 that “the days are evil”? What causes you to agree or disagree?

How can you speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs? (It doesn’t mean you have to sing or rhyme when talking to one another.)

What do you think it means by ALWAYS giving thanks?


This activity will guide students through something like an “Ignatian Examen.” Ask students to sit in a comfortable position with their eyes closed enough so they aren’t distracted by the world around them but not closed so much that they will fall asleep. Ask them to think back to the beginning of the day. Ask them to think about the first thing they did when they woke up and then what they did immediately afterward. As they think through what happened, ask them to name out loud anything that was good and that they can be thankful for.

After a couple of minutes, ask them to recall again the beginning of their day. This time, they are to look for the opportunities they had to do something wise or good. Invite them to give thanks for the times they chose the wise and good. Likewise, have them ask God for forgiveness in the times they fell short of that. This activity can be aloud or personal and silent.

Depending on how your group is doing at this point, consider taking them through the whole week at a faster pace per day. If they seem to be restless, invite them to open their eyes and go around the room sharing the stories of thankfulness as well as the missed opportunities.


Close in the manner that is typical for your group. If you spend time in prayer, invite students to pray specifically about the thankful things and the future opportunities.

In This Series...

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes