BIG IDEA: WE NEED TO BE RICH IN GOD.
AIM: This Sunday school lesson (Matthew 6:19-24) aims to teach children that although material riches may seem great, having riches in God is far greater!
1) Dollar Jump. Make your own jump stick with little notches and certain items that players can win attached to each notch. If a player jumps over one of the notches they earn whatever they have jumped over. If they manage to jump the whole of the stick they win all of the prizes on each notch.
2) Coin Flick. Set out a number of cups with different points attached to each. Players must try and flick their coins into the cups. The player that gains the most points at the end is the winner.
3) Treasure Dash. Have chocolate coins taped to items and laid around an obstacle course. Players must run around the obstacle course and pick up the coins along the way. Allocate a time that this must be finished in. If the player does not reach the finish line before the time is up then they lose all their coins. The winner is the player at the finish line with the most amount of coins.
BIG VERSE: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21.
Read Matthew 6:19-24:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) WHAT DO YOU TREASURE MOST?
You will need pictures of the items below or the actual items.
Say: Which item would you be most bothered about if you lost it?
1. Your bible
2. Your candy
3. Your allowance for the week
4. Your favorite toy
5. Your television/computer/phone
(Ask the children to vote or put the items in order of what they would miss most.)
Now, these are all material possessions; all of these things will ruin or rust over time. Yet it helps us to see what we would most be upset about losing. Why? Because it helps to show us what is most important to us and what we treasure most. If something matters to us then we would be upset if we lost it. If it really matters to us our heart would break without it. That’s why Matthew says ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart is,’ because whatever we love and hold dear is what is closest to our heart.
For example, would we be more upset if we couldn’t go to church or spend time with God praying and talking to him than if we had to give up our favorite sport or hobby? Thankfully we usually don’t have to choose, but asking these types of questions sometimes helps us to see what we treasure the most. God wants us to enjoy lots of different things, but He wants us to treasure Him most. So, what do you treasure most? Being with God and having Him first in your life… or something else?
2) ARE YOU RICH?
Read ‘The Richest Man in Denvershire’ story below. This story was read by a lady fondly known by others as ‘Nanna Jean’ and has been typed up word for word as she told it. Feel free to adapt it to your own situation.
Sandy was ginger. Sandy was a hedge cutter. Sandy was a Christian and Sandy was hungry. So he sat down behind a hedge and opened his packet of cheese sandwiches and began to say his grace. When like a whirlwind the Squire of Denvershire landed right by Sandy’s side. The dapple gray mare the Squire was riding had taken fright at the sight of Sandy’s mass of red hair and had ceremoniously unseated the rich man who landed him well and truly over the hedge. Sandy of course offered the Squire a cheese sandwich, but he rather rudely declined.
“Squire” said Sandy, “I had a dream last night and in my dream I heard a solemn voice declaring, “The richest man in Denvershire will die at 12 o’clock tonight. And do you know Squire, it was the most vivid dream. Squire thought of his huge mansion, his tremendous wealth, his estates, his investments,his cattle,his servants and he began to tremble. “What a foolish little man you are”, said Squire. But he was really worried. “The richest man in Denvershire will die at 12 o’clock tonight.” The words kept running around in his mind. He remounted and quickly cantered off back home. But he didn’t want his huge lunch. His appetite had gone. The family doctor was sent an urgent request, “Come immediately and give the Squire a full examination.” Heart, lungs, blood pressure, temperature were all efficiently tested. But Doctor Jones could find absolutely nothing wrong with the Denvershire’s worried Squire. “You’ll live another 30 years” declared the GP. But Squire was sure Sandy’s words were true. He only had a few hours left.
The servants were all summoned into the Great Hall. The gardeners had a raise in pay, the Chef had a gift of £500. The kitchen maids were promised a 60hr week. Grooms were complemented and everyone was happy. Except the Squire. The clock was ticking on and on. And every tick was a second less to live. It seemed the words were keeping pace with the tick tock of the big clock. “The richest man in Denvershire will die at 12 o’clock tonight.”
Squire was trembling and perspiring. His heart was beating like a big giant road drill. It was now 7 o’clock. Just 180 minutes left, 1o,800 seconds. He sent for his famous orchestra to play away his melocholy feelings. They came. Violins and cellos, drums, trumpets, piccolos, bissoons, claranets, bassetones. They played heavenly music, but in the ears of the Squire there was a funeral song. They collected a big cheque and finished the concert prematurely at the call of the now demented Squire. Next came the pop groups to try to bring relief finish to the demented tycoon. ‘The Marmalades’ ‘The Know Hoffs’ ‘The Earwigs’, the ‘GeeGees’, the ‘Runnerbeans’ and the greatest of them all ‘The Cappefonies’. They all came with their guitars, their multi drums, their tambourines, their ample amplifiers. and electronic organs. But after ten minutes he sent them all packing. There was only an hour left now…
In just sixty minutes he would be dead, for he was the richest man in Denvershire. The doctor brought a specialist at 11:30. All were declared perfect. Mrs Squire came into the Great Hall to comfort the Squire. But he could not be comforted, 5 minutes. 4 minutes. 2. 1 minute. Now it was only seconds and Squire was frantic. 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1 second. Squire perspiring poured down his chin, buried his head in his hands and waited for the end . Midnight chimed. He was still alive. 5 minutes past 12. He pinched himself. Ow! Yes, Squire was still alive. The huge door at the end of the banqueting hall opened. “Sandy the hedgecutter died at 12 o’clock tonight” said the Squire’s secretary.
The text was, “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9.
Yes, Sandy was the richest man in Denvershire.
The Squire in this story treasured his riches the most. He thought he was rich because he had lots of money and owned lots of things. But that’s not the way God sees it. He doesn’t look at our money and think that makes us rich. He looks at our heart and sees who we care about and if we love Him. He knows that that is the thing that makes us truly rich. Rich in God. Rich in love. Rich in peace. Rich in forgiveness. Rich in hope. Rich in grace. God wants us to store up treasures in heaven not earth, because this way we will be rich in Him forever, and not just wealthy on earth and in spiritual poverty when we die.
3) MATERIAL RICHES DON’T LAST FOREVER
You will need something old and rusted, perhaps something from your lawn. Alternatively make a powerpoint full of old rusted items and things that have completely deteriorated.
Say: Have you seen how rusted this is? It’s so annoying! Nothing lasts! You spend your money on it and the next thing is, it’s rusting or ripped or out of fashion! Matthew tells us that that is the same with everything we can possess on this planet. Everything only lasts for a time. Everything manmade will one day be gone.
That’s why Matthew tells us it’s important to make sure we are not chasing after material possessions, but we chase after the things of God. The things that truly make us rich. These are the things that last forever. Love, peace, joy, hope, righteousness, justice, faith these are the things that people remember. These are the things that can be treasured forever. These are things that God loves!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
You will need the scriptures on slips of paper and enough chocolate coins (decide in advance if each child will take part or if it is to be a game with a specific number of contestants.)
Attach a scripture to each chocolate coin. Ask the children to stand behind a line and throw their coin into one of two buckets. Bucket 1 is for what it means to be rich in God, Bucket 2 is for being rich in possessions. If the child gets their scripture reference correctly into the bucket they can eat a chocolate.
Rich in God verses:
1. Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5.
2. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Acts 3:6.
3. For in him you have been enriched in every way–with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge. 1 Corinthians 1:5.
4. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9.
5. I know your afflictions and your poverty–yet you are rich! Revelation 2:9.
6. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Psalms 19:9-10.
7. The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Psalms 119:72.
8. “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46.
9. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. Luke 12;33.
10. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. Matthew 6:20.
Wealth Before God verses:
1. Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10.
2. No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:24.
3. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10
4. Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. James 5:1-6
5. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Revelation 3:17.
6. For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:7-10.
7. The Parable of the Rich Fool: Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. Luke 12:13-21.
SENSE How You Feel:
What have you been storing up for yourself?
How does it feel to read the words of Matthew 6:19-24.
Ask the children to visit different stations around the room where they can:
1) Build with bricks to help them think about how they would feel
2) Paint or draw a picture about how they feel
3) Write how they feel on the back of fake children’s game money you have created
4) Listen to some peaceful music while they think about how they feel
5) Talk with a leader or friends about how it makes them feel
6) Use flags to dance with music whilst they think about how they feel or use musical instruments
Do you think the things that you treasure most are the treasures of heaven or material possessions?
What do I treasure most?
Ask the children to think about the words that they have heard from Matthew 6:19-24.
Help the children to decorate a craft mache treasure box and think about what they treasure the most in their lives. If they would like, ask them to write a prayer to go with it. You can use this example if it helps:
‘Lord, help me to treasure You most of all and to treasure the things that you treasure.’