Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about keeping God first.
Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads, money
Intro Game: Monkeys in the Middle
Form students into three groups. Two groups stand on either side of your play area. The third group stands in the middle. The two groups on the end throw or rolls the balls (or paper wads) back and forth to each other. The third group tries to intercept them.
When someone from the group in the middle gets one of the balls, it’s out of play. Set it to the side. Play continues until the middle group intercepts all the balls. Then, switch which group is in the middle. Play until all groups have been in the middle at least once.
(with a Twist) – This time, tell the students that their goal is to rotate as quickly as possible. The groups on the end want to throw their balls to the group in the middle and then rotate as quickly as possible. The group in the middle goes to side A. The group on side A goes to side B. And the group on side B goes to the middle. Time each round to see if they can get faster and faster.
When you’re finished with the game, ask students, Was it difficult to be in the middle? You had to watch both sides, didn’t you? Our lesson today is about picking one side.
Have a leader stand at one side of the room while you stand at the other. The other leader tries to get kids to sit down or to come to them to hear the lesson while you try to lure kids to you, offering them money. Wait to see what the kids will do and then, tell them to sit down. Don’t really give them anything, as this would be rewarding negative behavior. Do not punish them either, though, as this exercise is simply meant to introduce the point of the lesson.
Ask students, Was it hard knowing which one of the leaders to listen to? Why?
The other leader was trying to teach you a lesson about God, and that’s more important than the money I was going to give you.
(Read Matthew 6:24.)
“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.”
Jesus is saying that we can’t listen to two people at one time. We can’t listen to God and to money. We have to make a choice about what one is more important to us, and we should always make God the most important person in our lives.
I have some questions about money and making God the most important in our lives. I want you to tell me what I should do in each of these situations:
1. Should I keep all of my money for myself, or should I give some to God by giving to the offering? (Giving some of your money to God instead of keeping it all for yourself is putting God first!)
2. When I grow up, should I work all the time so that I can make more money but can’t come to church, or should I take a break from work and making money sometimes so that I can come to church once a week? (Coming to church instead of making more money is putting God first!)
3. Should I steal to get more money, or should I listen to God’s rule and not steal? (Listening to God’s rule to not steal is putting God first!)
4. Should I spend my money on bad things like bad movies, cigarettes, or drugs that God doesn’t want me to have, or should I spend my money on good things that God does want me to have? (Spending your money on the things God wants you to have instead of the things He doesn’t want you to have is putting God first!)
So, remember, I know we all like to get money and spend it on things we want, but we always have to put God first.
Game: Different Goals
If you have room, set up an area to play soccer. The twist is that instead of having two goals, you’ll have three. Every 30 seconds, change which goal one of the teams is trying to score in. The goalie from the defending team has to run to the new goal as the offensive team turns their attention toward it.
Afterward, tell students that we have to make living for God our number 1 goal. We can’t change our goal from wanting money to serving God and back again. We have to keep our goal on the one most important thing.
Game: Monkeys in the Middle
Play the intro game again, but this time, tell the Monkeys to face only one direction to see if they do better at intercepting the balls.
Jesus, help us to keep our focus on God, not on money or the things that we might want because we know that God is most important. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Teaches on the Mountain.