Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids to be generous.
Needed: A bag of potatoes or another item to play Hot Potato with (you’ll need one for each student), a bunch of shirts or something else you have a lot of, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils, pennies
Intro 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.
Bring in a bunch of shirts and say something like, Wow, I have a lot of shirts, don’t I? Do you think I need all these shirts? What if I took this one (pull one out) and gave it away? Would I still have enough shirts? I think I would still have enough.
(Read Luke 12:13-21 or summarize the passage by reading the following story and asking the included questions.)
Jesus told a story, saying, “There was a farmer whose land grew so many crops one year that he didn’t know what to do. The farmer said, ‘I have so many extra crops that I can’t fit them all into my barn! What should I do?’”
What do you think the farmer should do with all his extra crops?
Do you think maybe the farmer should give some of his extra crops to people who need them?
“But the farmer didn’t want to give anything away. He wanted to keep everything for himself, so he said, ‘I know what I’ll do! I’ll tear down my old barn and build a bigger one to replace it. Then, I’ll have enough room for all my crops. After that, I can sit back and relax and know that I won’t have to do any more farming for a long time since I have so much extra food.’ But that night, God said, ‘You fool! You’re not going to live long enough to enjoy all that extra food you saved up for yourself. You’re going to die tonight.’”
Did the farmer get to keep all the extra food he saved up for himself? (No.)
And that’s why God doesn’t want us to keep too many things for ourselves. He doesn’t want us to be greedy and keep things only for us. He wants us to keep only what we need and then, give our extras away so that we can help other people. If we give our extra things or our extra money away to help other people, God will be happy with us.
(If your church has a donation drop-off, take the children with you to place your shirt or other items in the drop-box.)
Ask students, Have you ever given something away or helped your parents give something away?
What did you give away?
How do you think that item will help someone else?
Craft: Donation Notation
Give students drawing supplies and say, Let’s all draw a picture of something that we can give away this week. Remember that God is happy when we give things away to help other people.
When the students are finished drawing, ask for volunteers to share why they thought of giving away what they drew.
Game: Give It Away!
Divide students into two teams. Give one team a handful of pennies. Have them keep as much as they think they need, giving a rationale for each cent. Question their decision on what they need to keep their money for and what they don’t. You are trying to get them to see the difference between needs and wants.
Tell them to give away the rest, putting it into an offering plate. The leader takes some of that money, explaining that it’s for the church to pay its bills, and then gives the rest to the other team. Now, ask the second team to keep what they need from what they’ve been given by the first team. Again, they put their extra into the offering.
Then, the leader pulls out more money to give to the first team to reward them for their generosity. The more they gave away during their round, the more they receive as a reward from God. They are also given the offering from team two. This is how offering works and how God rewards us for it.
Play three rounds. At the beginning of each round, the money that the teams kept is “spent” on their necessities and recycles back into the leader’s supply.
Game: 2x Hot Potato
Play the intro game again. Remind students that when we have enough of something, we need to give the rest away.
Jesus, we thank You for giving us everything that we need. Help us to remember people who don’t have as much as we do. Help us to give away everything we don’t need. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Teaches on the Mountain.