Lesson: You Shall Not Steal

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Teach students to respect others’ property and to even avoid coveting it. Includes a teaching guide and 2 games.

Needed: soft play balls or paper wads, a snack or other prize

Intro Game: Snatch Ball

Mark a line down the center of your play area. Place soft play balls on the line. If you don’t have play balls, you can wad up waste paper to play with. Form two teams and tell the students to stand a certain number of steps away from the line. Give each team one ball. On “Go!” the students race toward the line to snatch the other balls. They then throw the balls at the other team. When a student is hit with a ball, they’re out for the round.

Play as many rounds as you like, and then point out that the kids had to snatch the balls to make sure the other team didn’t get them.

Lesson

Ask students, Does anyone remember why God gives us rules? (God gives us rules because He loves us. The rules He gives us are meant to protect us and others.)

How many of you have everything you want? Can anyone think of something that you don’t have, but you want? (Listen to kids’ ideas and prompt them to think of something if they don’t come up with anything right away.)

Do some of your friends or cousins have some of the things that you want?

What could you do to get those things you want? (Listen to kids’ ideas and help them to think of more. Suggestions could be that they could do chores, save up allowance, ask for the item for their birthday or Christmas, etc).

You could always just steal what you want from the store or from your friend if they have what you want. Do you think that’s a good idea?

How would you feel if someone stole something of yours?

(Have a student read Exodus 20:15, quoted here in the NIV.)

“You shall not steal.”

What is God telling us not to do in this Bible verse? (God is telling us not to steal.)

So, when we want something, we just have to work for and earn the money for that thing we want, or we have to wait and ask for them as a present.

But God has another rule that goes along with this one about not stealing.

(Have a student read Exodus 20:17, NIV.)

“You shall not covetyour neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

God says that we’re not supposed to covet what other people have. What does that word “covet” mean?

It means to want what someone else has, to be envious of them or jealous that they have it and we don’t. God says not to want something that someone else has and not to be mad at someone for having something that we don’t have.

(Have a student read Hebrews 13:5, NIV.)

“Keep your lives free from the love of moneyand be content with what you have,because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”

God says that we should be content with what we have. What does it mean to be content?

It means to be happy with or satisfied with you what have. God doesn’t want us to always be wanting more things. He wants us to just be happy and thankful for what we do have.

And we know that we always have the best thing because we always have God. Even if we don’t have everything that we want, God has promised that He’ll always be with us. And having God with us is much better than anything else we could want.

Game: Give It Away

Tell students that one way we show that we’re content and not wanting to get more for ourselves is when we give things 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.

Explain that God is happy with us when we’re content with what we have and give to help other people.

Game: Snatch Ball with a Twist

Set up to play Snatch Ball again. But instead of putting all the balls on the line, only put one ball on the line. Give each team one ball and keep the rest with you. On “Go!” the students will run for that one ball. Give the rest of the balls to whichever side doesn’t get the one in the middle, and continue playing normally.

After the round, remind students that we should be content with what we have and not always rushing to get more.

Set all the balls in the middle again. Tell students that you want them all to be content and not rush to get more. See what happens when you say, “Go!”

Keep dropping hints that you actually don’t want the teams to run forward to get the balls. Once they understand and don’t immediately run for the balls, give them a snack or a prize. Tell them that because they were content, you’re going to reward them.

Closing Prayer

Father God, You have given us everything we need. You’ve even given us Yourself, the most important thing we could ever ask for. Help us to be content with and thankful for all You’ve blessed us with. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This lesson is included in my book, The Lord’s Top Ten: Children’s Sunday School Lessons on the Ten Commandments.

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