Ella has become the servant to her stepmother and two step sisters – and that’s how they treat her too! She is no longer treated like a member of the family. Poor Ella! They even rename her Cinderella. Things aren’t going very well for Ella, yet she never becomes anger or bitter but chooses to serve her family with her whole heart.
Compassion and Love:
Say: Wow… it seemed Ella’s mother had no compassion for her or her situation. Her father was dead and she was serving the rest of her new family the best she could. It must have felt terrible to be treated the way she was being treated when she had gone through such a sad and difficult time already. All she would have wanted was a little love and compassion. Ella’s stepmother couldn’t even give her that.
The kind of love and compassion that Ella has for others, but lacks from other people, is the same love and compassion that Jesus has for all of us. Yet his far outweighs us all! Jesus loved us so much he was willing to live a perfect life and die a perfect death for each one of us. His compassion for us sent him to the cross and so we say “We love because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:19.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8.
1. Why do you think Ella’s stepmother and stepsisters did not show her any love or compassion?
2. In you own words, what do you think compassion is?
3. How might we show others love and compassion?
4. What is the most loving or compassionate thing you or someone you know has ever done or said?
5. How might we learn compassion and love from Jesus?
Say: Sometimes family can be so upsetting can’t they! They can make life a lot tougher for us. Perhaps you have been treated by your family members, just like Ella was treated badly. It can really hurt. We wonder why they would treat us this way and if there is anything wrong with us. Yet God gives us family to help us learn to get along with others, to see what it means to be part of something bigger than just ourselves.
We need help to act in the right way towards our families – especially when our families are cruel or say awful things to us. We need the Holy Spirit to help us hold our tongue when we really want to shout back or say something cruel back. We need God’s help to treat our family kindly even when they hurt us. Our family are bound to hurt us at some point – and we will hurt them too. When we are close to people we are going to hurt them because we are not perfect, nobody is. Yet we can ask Jesus to help us to say sorry when we hurt others and to show them love.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21.
1. How has your family ever upset you and how did it get sorted? (If it did not, then now is a time to pray!)
2. What is your favorite thing about your family?
3. What is your least favorite thing about your family?
4. How might you be a blessing to your family?
5. Why do you think God loves family?
6. What does it feel like to be a part of the biggest family in the world?
Humiliation and Humility:
Say: I’m sure Ella felt totally humiliated and embarrassed that she wasn’t able to sit at the table with her stepmom and sisters. Humiliation can be horrible. It isn’t nice or friendly to humiliate someone. In fact, it shows more about you and your heart then it does about theirs. If you need to humiliate someone else to feel better about yourself then there is probably something wrong. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and he will deal with the rest. That means we don’t need to humiliate or attack others. We can trust God to fight for us.
If someone has humiliated us we may want to take revenge, but God shows us that that’s not right either. Ella had a great response; she didn’t get angry or say anything back, she simply walked away. That can be the hardest thing to do, but Ella showed humility in walking away. She showed that she didn’t need to fight for her own name. She didn’t need to defend herself. We can trust that God will honor us when we display this kind of humility.
[spoken to Israel] Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. Isaiah 54:4.
Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. Proverbs 29:23. (NLT)
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:3-6.
1. How do you think it made Ella feel to be treated badly in front of her family?
2. Have you ever felt humiliated? What happened and what did you do?
3. Have you ever humiliated someone else? How did it make you feel? How did it make them feel?
4. Do you think God enjoys humiliation? Why/why not?
5. How do you think Jesus felt when he was humiliated by the soldiers and on the cross?
6. What can we learn from Jesus’ humiliation?
7. What can we do when we see others being humiliated?
Say: Ella’s stepmother was so horrible wasn’t she?! Ella was doing everything she had asked her to do, and she got no thanks or praise. Her stepmother didn’t act like a mother towards her at all! That must be really tough. We don’t understand why some
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. Exodus 20:12.
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. Isaiah 139:13.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29.
My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. Proverbs 6:20-22.
1. Do you think Ella’s stepmother was a good mother? Why/why not?
2. How did Ella treat her stepmother? What can we learn from Ella in this way?
3. How might we show our moms that we love them – even when they upset us?
4. Why do you think it was difficult for Ella’s stepmother to love her?
5. What is the best thing you have ever done for your mom [stepmom, foster carer, granny, or alike that looks after them]?
6. How can you appreciate your mom [stepmom, foster carer, granny, or alike that looks after them] for all the things that she has done for you?
Say: Ella didn’t complain in this clip at all about serving her stepmother or sisters. That’s not an easy thing to do. I’m sure there’s times when we can all say that we haven’t wanted to serve someone, yet we have done it anyway. But to do it without complaining?! Now, thats a challenge!
Jesus never complained about serving others. Even when the Pharisees spoke evil and set their hearts against him. Even when he was dying on the cross. He never had a hateful word or a bad complaint to make. Jesus served wholeheartedly. Not only that, but he set his life as an example of what it meant to serve. He never failed to serve. His heart was always for helping others. That’s why he taught the disciples that to lead meant to serve and that “the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ Matthew 20:16.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:13-14.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:12-14.
And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:44-45.
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. Mark 9:35.
Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24.
1. When was the last time you did an act of service for someone? (Explain that an act of service is when you have helped or served someone else)
2. How did it feel to serve someone else?
3. How does it feel when you do something for someone and they don’t treat you well in return?
4. Is it fun serving others? Why/why not? If not, how can we make it more fun?
5. Can we serve God by serving others?
6. Do you think God wants us to treat those that serve us well? Why/why not?
7. How do you appreciate a) waiters, waitresses and store assistants that serve you in a restaurant or store b) those that serve you in the church c) those that serve you in school – including canteen staff, teachers and volunteers d) those that serve you in the community (store owners, police, fire fighters) e) those that serve you at home (family members)?
8. How did Jesus serve others?
9. What can we learn from the way Jesus loved to serve?
10. Who else served others in the bible? What can we learn from them?
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