Lesson 4: Don’t Stuff Yourself!
We’ve all seen people who think that having nice cars, nice clothes, a nice house, and other expensive things make them just a little more important than the rest of us. That’s not an attitude that God is pleased with. Last week, the children learned the dangers of a life of greed. Using the next few verses in the same scripture passage, we will learn some important principles that, if applied, will keep us from falling into the trap of greed. There’s nothing wrong with having “stuff.” But, when your “stuff” begins to make you think you are “big stuff,” then we have a problem that needs to be corrected. That’s what we will talk about this week.
At Home Instructions
Power Verse “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Big Idea “Live A Life Of Generosity, For Where Your Treasure Is Your Heart Will Be!”
For this devotion, you’ll need an envelope and a piece of paper for each person. On each envelope, write one of the following amounts and on the piece of paper, write the corresponding amount, and then put it in the envelope.
Envelope -- Piece of Paper
Give each family member an envelope. Ask each person to tell what they’d buy right now if they had that much money. After everyone has a turn, tell them to open their envelopes. Explain that the amount on the piece of paper is how much money they would have in 10 years if they had invested the money at 6% interest instead of spending it. Then ask the following questions:
• How much do you think the stuff you would have bought with your money would be worth 10 years from now?
• Do you think you would even still own the stuff you bought with your money 10 years from now? Why or why not?
Then have everyone in the family think back over the past couple of weeks and answer these questions:
• What have you spent most of your free time doing?
• Where have you spent the most money?
The answers to these questions tell a lot about our priorities; we tend to spend our time and money on what’s most important to us. However, God wants us to make a subtle shift in our thinking. Instead of spending time and money, He wants us to invest them. The difference in our daily lives may not be huge—we’ll still use our time and money—but the difference in the outcome is significant. By investing our time and money wisely, we’ll actually have more in the future than we do right now, whether here on earth or later in Heaven.
Think of God like an investment banker. As we give Him our time and money (and remember, He gave them to us to begin with), He takes them and multiplies them for His kingdom. The $10 we invest in a church plant not only helps to build a church but may lead to the salvation of a person who will introduce hundreds of people to Christ. Small investment, big return. The 30 minutes we invest in talking to a hurting person may result in a restored relationship. Again, small investment, big return.
Discuss whether the following scenarios are good investments.
(No right or wrong answers—sometimes some of these are good investments and other times, they’re not.)
• You use your money to buy food
• You spend time playing video games
• You buy new clothes
• You hang out with your friends
Discuss as a family whether the things you’ve been spending your time and money on, both individually and as a family, are good investments or not. How will your family benefit from these things? How will God’s kingdom benefit?
Read I Timothy 6:17-19 and pray that God will help you invest your time and money wisely.
Additional activities, especially for younger children:
- Watch the Veggie Tales show Madame Blueberry
- Read Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Mr. Crabbe is wearing dark sunglasses and lots of shiny “bling bling” gold necklaces and chains. He is looking good.
Leader: Don’t STUFF yourself! That’s what we are talking about today...
(Mr. Crabbe pops out to the music “Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood. He struts around while the music is going on. He is wearing dark sunglasses and lots of shiny “bling bling” gold necklaces and chains. He is looking good.)
Leader: What in the world are you doing, Mr. Crabbe?
Mr. Crabbe: That’s not my name.
Leader: What do you mean that’s not your name. Of course it is. Your name is Mr. Crabbe.
Mr. Crabbe: Not anymore. My name is “Mr. Big Stuff” to you.
Leader: Mr. Big Stuff? Why is your name all of a sudden “Mr. Big Stuff?”
Mr. Crabbe: Because. I got me some new “wing wing”.
Leader: Some new what?
Mr. Crabbe: Some new “wing wing”. Don’t you see it? I got me some shiny new jewelry. Isn’t that what the kids call it nowadays? “Wing Wing”?
Leader: Well, I think they call it “bling bling.”
Mr. Crabbe: Wing Wing, Bling Bling. Whatever. All that matters is that you know I am now “Mr. Big Stuff.” I am an important person. New clothes, new bling bling, new name. Mr. Big Stuff if you please.
Leader: Well, Mr. Crabbe, I mean “Mr. Big Stuff.” What makes you think that just because you have nice clothes and nice jewelry that you are all of a sudden better than everyone else. That doesn’t sound like a Christ-like attitude.
Mr. Crabbe: How do you mean?
Leader: Well, God teaches us that although STUFF is nice to have, we should never place our impor- tance or our focus on getting STUFF. We should use our stuff to build God’s Kingdom, not on trying to convince people we are better than they are because we have nice things. After all, God is the one who blessed us with these nice things to begin with, right?
Mr. Crabbe: Well, yeah.
Leader: You see, Mr. Crabbe. We are learning today that wherever we put our money, that shows where our heart is. We should use the money God gives us to buy STUFF for the right reasons, not to show off in front of other people.
Mr. Crabbe: Yeah, you’re right. (takes off sunglasses) I been running around here acting like a little nincompoop, haven’t I? I’m sorry if I made you feel unimportant. The truth is, I’m no better than anybody else. We are all sinners saved by God’s grace. I’m not going to let this “STUFF” go to my head anymore.
Leader: Mr. Crabbe, that is awesome that you feel that way. I think it shows you have learned a big lesson today.
Mr. Crabbe: I sure have. I’m not going to let my heart be set on my STUFF. My heart is set on God!
Leader: Good decision!
Have the ten volunteers come up and give each of them a “case”. Each of them must NOT open the case until you instruct them to do so. Choose one player to come up and play.
Explain to the player that there are ten cases numbered 1-10. Each of them has an amount of money (or points or prizes) inside. Tell them that their goal at the beginning of the game is to pick which of the ten cases has the biggest prize in it. Once they have chosen, place that case (unopened) to the side.
Introduce “The Banker” to the audience and the players. Explain that at different spots in the game (after rounds 3, 6, 8 and 9), “The Banker” will call and offer the player an amount of money (or prize) to quit the game. His offer will be based on what amounts are still “up for grabs in the cases that are left. He is trying to offer you a deal to get out of the game (thus keeping him from having to give the player the maximum amount possible). The player can either accept the offer or decline the offer (“Deal? Or No Deal?”).
Now, the game begins. Each “round”, the player will choose a numbered case, and the holder of the case will open it to reveal how much money is in the case. The hope is to eliminate the cases with the lower prize amounts first.
When the banker “calls” to offer a deal, have the audience try to help the player choose whether or not they should take the deal. Play up the drama. It should be a lot of fun.
The game is over when the player either accepts a deal from the banker or eliminates all of the cases but the one chosen. At that point, reveal what is in the player’s chosen case. That is their prize.
Familiarize yourself with the passage found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
During message, every time you see (heart) hold up the heart, and when you see (money) hold up the money.
Today, our Power Verse teaches us why we need to be careful not to allow money and STUFF to become too important in our lives. Let me explain it this way.
There is an interesting connection between these two things – your heart (heart) and your treasure (money). If you want to know where this (heart) is – take a look at where this (money) is going. If you want to know where your heart (heart) is, you just look at where you spend your money (money). If you love (heart) video games, your money (money) will go towards video games. If you love (heart) candy, you will spend a lot of treasure (money) on candy.
You can say, “But, I don’t love STUFF more than God.” Then, just look at the last time you got some money (money) for your birthday. How easy was it for you to spend this (money) on toys for yourself? Pretty easy! You know why? Because you love (heart) toys. That’s where your heart (heart) is, so you have no problem putting your treasure (money) there. NOW, think how hard it might have been for you to give that same money (money) in an offering instead. It might have been harder, it might have been easier. Why? Because wherever this (heart) is then this (money) will follow. Make sense? That’s why it is so important to keep the right idea about STUFF.
Last time we were together we talked about something that is very dangerous...GREED. We learned that when I give in to greed 1) I Sin, 2) I Lose, 3) I Destroy My Relationship With God. Not good. So, today we are going to talk about how to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of greed. If we learn these principles found in the next few verses of the passage we looked at last week, we can make sure we never fall into the trap of Greed. Let’s read the next few verses together.
(Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19 out loud to the kids)
Now, let’s look at this passage and see the principles it teaches us on how not to fall into the trap of greed:
Verse 17 says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant…” Arrogant is a word that means “acting like you are better than everyone else.” You know this kind of person. They walk around acting like they are “big stuff” just because they have a lot of money or possessions.
Have you ever watched a Marvel movie with Tony Stark in it? If you have, you know that Tony Stark thinks he is “big stuff” because he has a lot of stuff. We see him enjoying his airplanes, his houses and skyscrapers, all his fancy cars, and of course all the Artificial Intelligence and Iron Man suits. Since he has so much stuff, he must be big stuff, right?
We watch Tony and decide we want the same thing – the way to become big stuff must be to have a lot of stuff. So – we try to get more stuff than we could ever use – toys, clothes, video game systems, boats, cars. We have the idea that all this stuff makes me big stuff. I must be special and important or I wouldn’t have all this.
That’s not what our verses say today. Paul is teaching Timothy that people who have a lot of money and possessions shouldn’t get all puffed up and proud and begin treating others like they are not as good as they are. Say it with me, “I AM NOT MY STUFF.”
Not only can we say “I Am Not My Stuff,” but we can also say, “My Stuff Is Not My Stuff!” I know it sounds confusing. You say, “Well how can it be called ’my stuff’ if it is not ’my stuff?’” That is a great question.
We have been talking the last few weeks about how everything we own is a gift from God. It really doesn’t belong to us anyway, it belongs to God. We would have nothing if it weren’t for Him. That’s why we can say, “My stuff is not MY stuff,” because it is HIS stuff.
Look at the verse with me. It says, “...nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” You see, kids? It all comes from God anyway. We won’t get all proud and arrogant because we have a lot of stuff because it is not OUR stuff to begin with. It’s God’s stuff. So, say it with me, “MY STUFF IS NOT MY STUFF!” Isn’t this fun? :-)
The third principle we can learn from this passage is:
Isn’t this awesome? I am not my stuff, my stuff is not my stuff, and now “my stuff is your stuff.” Here is what the scripture says in verse 18: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
Not only are we not supposed to be arrogant about our possessions. Not only are we supposed to understand God gave it to us anyway. Now Paul says, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, be generous and willing to share.”
Paul didn’t say, “Suggest to them that perhaps they should consider sharing some of their wealth and stuff.” Paul said, “Command them.” This is not a choice.
What are we supposed to do with our stuff, with our money? Instead of taking pride in it, we are supposed to look for every opportunity to share with others, to be generous and give it away. This is completely the opposite of greed – this is called generosity.
The final lesson for us to learn about STUFF is:
Isn’t that hilarious? If I make my stuff HIS stuff and YOUR stuff, then I get the good stuff! Let me explain. This scripture passage is teaching us that we need to realize that our stuff actually belongs to God and we are to use it to bless others. If we will do that, then check out what it says will happen for us: “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
That is so awesome! If we will do what God is saying with our stuff, then we will be storing up treasures in HEAVEN that will last FOREVER! That’s so much better than trying to get treasures here on Earth that will only last for a while. If we honor God with our stuff, then He will honor us by giving us amazing treasures in Heaven. I don’t know about you, but that is an amazing deal.
So, now it is your choice...Deal? Or No Deal? It’s what we’ve been talking about this whole series. We can either be greedy and try to get as much money as possible for selfish reasons...that means “NO DEAL” to God. Or we can say, “DEAL!” to God and live the way He wants us to, realizing that our money and possessions are really HIS to begin with. So, I ask you one last time...Deal? Or No Deal? (allow response) I say, “DEAL!”
Play soft music and pray with the children that they will keep the right attitude about their money and stuff, never letting greed take hold in their life. Let them live their life as a giver, not a getter.
What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: Live A Life Of Generosity, For Where Your Treasure Is Your Heart Will Be!
What did Mr. Crabbe call his jewelry? Answer: Wing-Wing
What did Mr. Crabbe say he had changed his name to? Answer: Mr. Big Stuff
The first thing we learned is that “I am not my ___________.” Answer: Stuff
The second thing we learned is that “My stuff is not _____ stuff.” Answer: MY
The third thing we learned is that “My stuff is __________ stuff.” Answer: Your
The fourth thing we learned is that “If I make my stuff His stuff and your stuff, then I get the __________ stuff.” Answer: Good
The way to find out where your heart is is to see where your __________ is. Answer: Treasure (money)
What was today’s Power Verse? Answer: “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
True Or False: God’s deal is a great deal. Answer: True