Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids how to focus on good and worthwhile things.
Needed: Bibles, Treasures in Heaven Relay cards, a flashlight, gift boxes, (optional: picture or poster of a poor person or family), a potato or other object for each student, a die
Intro Game: Treasures in Heaven Relay
Divide students into two or more teams. All teams line up one side of the play area. On the other side is a stack of cards with pictures on them. Some of the cards depict Treasures in Heaven. The rest depict Treasures on Earth.
Start a timer for 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of your play area. When you say “Go!” the first student from each team runs to where the game cards are and selects something they think is a Treasure in Heaven. They run back to their team and give the card to their teammates.
If a team-member selects an item that the rest of them think is a Treasure on Earth, they have to run back and get something else.
The game is over when the timer goes off. The team with the most Treasures in Heaven cards wins.
Play again as long as time allows.
Treasures in Heaven card ideas include: a Bible, a church, a cross, praying hands, Baptism, Communion, someone helping another person, friends, family
Treasures on Earth cards include: coins, bills, a house, a person working, a car, video games
Set the gift boxes on one side of the room and the picture of the poor family on the other side, preferably up on an easel or hung on the wall or some other sort of raised position to make it easily visible. If you choose not to use a picture, you’ll have to describe what the children should be imagining on that side of the room.
Turn your flashlight on and shine it at the gift boxes. Ask the students, What is my flashlight pointing at?
Right, some gift boxes. Let’s pretend that those gift boxes have all the toys and clothes and games and everything that we want inside of them. Right now, our light is shining on those things because those are the things that we’re thinking about.
But now, let’s turn our light over here. (Point at the picture of the poor family.) Now, what is our light shining on?
Yeah, it’s someone who is in need, isn’t it? They don’t have very much money. Maybe they’re hungry, or they don’t have a nice place to live.
Let’s look back at our gift boxes. (Point the flashlight at the boxes.) Let me ask you something. If we’re looking over here at all the things that we want, can we see that poor family over there? (No, we can’t.)
That’s why Jesus said that we shouldn’t be looking too much at the things that we want. If we’re only thinking about what we want, then we can’t see what other people need.
(Read Matthew 6:22-23.)
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are [generous], your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are [greedy], your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
So, if our eyes are only looking at what we want and we’re being greedy, Jesus says that we’re full of darkness. But if our eyes are looking at other people and thinking about how we can help meet their needs, then Jesus says we will be full of light, and God will be happy with us.
So, let’s turn away from looking at the things we want (turn your light from the boxes) and think about how we can help others (turn your light to the picture).
Have you ever helped someone else?
What did you do?
How did it make you feel?
Game: 2x Hot Potato
Have students stand in a circle. Give the potato to one child and have that student pass it to their right, around the circle, as fast as they can while you time them for 30 seconds.
The child holding the potato after 30 seconds is caught with it. If they do not have a potato, they keep the one they’re holding. Give them a second potato to begin passing.
If they already have a potato, they’re out because they can’t hold more than one potato once.
Play a few times and then, explain that God doesn’t want to have too much of something if other people don’t have any of it.
Game: Where are Your Treasures
Students take turns rolling a die, or you can give them all a die and let them roll simultaneously. Each student will roll 10 times, earning or losing points based on the following die rolls.
As students roll, announce the following:
On a 1, they won a lot of money and earn 1 point.
On a 2, they won a brand new car and earn a 1 point.
On a 3, someone stole all their money and they lose 1 point.
On a 4, their car broke down and they lose 1 point.
On a 5, they lost something they really liked and lose 1 point.
On a 6, they did something nice for someone else and earn 2 points.
Play a couple of times if time allows.
Jesus, we know that You care about everyone. Help us to focus on people who are in need, and how we can help them, instead of other things that we might want. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Teaches on the Mountain.