As Christians, we know that our value is in much different things than what the world tends to judge as important. In daily life, we often struggle with what seems most critical, and this can lessen our hope and confuse our priorities. This lesson reminds us of what truly lasts in life, and what we can knowingly aim our hope on.
Lesson focus: God has deemed us valuable enough to purchase with the blood of Jesus. So much of what we think is important now fades away, but our salvation and hope in Christ will remain.
Passage: 1 Peter 1:12-25
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Various food items (or pictures of them); coins and bills (or pictures, again);
Lesson Opening: What lasts longest? Provide students with several items that might last different time spans, and have them place the items in order of use…these could be pictures or actual items. Consider things like foods that should be refrigerated (cheese, butter, ice cream) and range to more “nonperishables” (cans or boxed items). Invite students to sort and place the items based on how they think they should be used. Explain that today we will talk about how things last, and how to know that we put hope in things that are truly valuable.
What makes something valuable? Who decides what is most important in our lives? Explain that in the opening activity, we sorted things according to how they should be used up. This might make it seem that we need to order how we use items in our lives. What about how we think of things as important to us? Do we order that?
Talk a bit about a yard sale. In that type of event, one person’s old seemingly worthless junk gets opportunity for new life, and someone else has opportunity to gain something new. When preparing for a yard sale, we might “tag” things according to what we hope others will pay, and what we think they might value. When people come to a sale, they might hope for exciting finds and purchases…
What does hope mean in the Christian life?
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]
Talk with kids about how we can set hope in Jesus. God is calling us holy? What does that mean? It means that what we should value is not always the same as what seems of worldly importance. Go back to the yard sale. We use currency to value and buy things…but ultimately what does that mean, too? Who decides the worth of a dollar or a quarter? (hold up dollar bill; coins) In our current culture, money is highly valued, and the more you have, the more it seems you can get. But all of that is going to pass away. Cars worth thousands of dollars can be smashed to bits in an instant. A “priceless” famed painting could fall victim to an irresponsible glass of water. It all fades and “goes bad” in a sense…what remains? Look at the next few verses.
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
We are worth more than gold. God the Father bought us with His blood, essentially, and that is truly an item of matchless worth. What does this mean for us? It means that we need to set our hearts and our focus on things not of this world. We were not bought with perishable items, so we know we need not trust in those, but in God. That’s where true hope lies.
And what is the result of this hope? We live it out. While others may compete for status or monetary wealth, our aim ought to be loving others. That is how to store up Heavenly treasure. We live out God’s will by recognizing that His people are valuable. And while all people have unique talents and abilities, they are all valued in God’s eyes.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[c]
And this is the word that was preached to you.
We remember here that nothing lasts. Popularity and fame are fickle and fading. Money goes away. Food spoils. Even the earth dries up. But the truth of the Lord endures forever. This is a comforting thought to grasp and pursue!
Make a collage reminder of what’s most important: Allow students to cut out magazine pictures of various items and things that the World often deems essential or just fun. Glue the pictures onto a large piece of paper, but in the center attach a caption along with the verse:
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. -1 Peter 1:18-19
If time allows, play a few rounds of “the Price is Right”…hold up an item (or picture) and have kids guess (without going too high) what the price is. Remind students that worth can seem subjective, but ALL are valued by God.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank God for loving us and ask that we would put Him first and foremost in all things.