Family Sunday School Devotion for July 26
“Jesus Taught about Possessions” from Luke 12
Listen to- “Seek Ye First” from Maranatha here:
and- “Do Not Worry” by Rain for Roots here:
Supplies Needed- For younger kids: simple flower outline on piece of heavy paper (or search for a free coloring page online and print onto heavy paper) for each child, shoelace/length of yarn with end taped to a point for each child; for older kids: soft ball
Summary- Jesus taught people how to pray.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- Guess Who Has It Sit in a circle, with the person who is “it” in the center of the circle. Have everyone close eyes while passing a Bible from hand to hand behind backs. Have the person in the middle guess who is holding the Bible. Say, “That was a fun game, but it would be sad if someone really did take my Bible. Can anyone take away God’s words that I have memorized, though? No! People might take things that are special to us on earth, but there is a kind of treasure that no one can take away from us. Jesus taught us to seek that treasure and not worry about other stuff. Listen to our Bible story to learn what that treasure is!”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Wants and Needs Designate one side of the room as Wants and the other side of the room as Needs. You may hang signs. Say the names of different things kids might own or wish to own. Instruct kids to move to the side of the room that accurately describes the object you named. Allow kids to explain their reasoning. You may use the following list or come up with your own: clothing, healthy food, junk food, new toys, pets, school supplies, clean water. Say, “Some of those things we definitely need, and some of those things were probably just things we want. Today, we will learn what Jesus taught about what we want and need. There’s one thing we need most of all. What do you think that is?”
Big Picture Question- Say, “Our Big Picture Question asks: What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? The answer to our question is: Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him. Jesus wanted people to know God, so He told people all about the Father. Jesus also wanted people to understand that He is the Messiah, so He used the Old Testament to show that He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. All Scripture points to Jesus.”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “When we started this month, we heard the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught people how to live in God’s kingdom. We learned that sin begins in our hearts and minds, so no one but Jesus can obey perfectly. Then we learned that following Jesus is not easy, but He is worth it. Last week, we studied prayer. Jesus taught people how to pray. He taught that we should have faith and trust God to do what is best for us. This week, we will learn what Jesus taught about our possessions. Open a Bible to Luke 12:13-34. Say, “Did Jesus always speak God’s words? Yes! People like Luke wrote down Jesus’ words in the Bible, so we can still read God’s true word today.” Read or tell the story in your own words from this passage (this story is not included in the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook).
Christ Connection- Say, “Jesus is our greatest treasure. Jesus left His place in heaven to live humbly on earth. Jesus obeyed God to set up His kingdom. We can give generously and trust God to provide everything we need. When we worry about what we do and do not have, it distracts us from worshiping Jesus and obeying Him out of love. Thankfully, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross makes the way for us to have new life, so we can put away the distractions and live for God’s glory.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to John 14:25-26. Read the verses aloud. Say, “Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit was fulfilled two thousand years ago. That means everyone who has faith in Jesus receives the Holy Spirit right away. The Holy Spirit is God, and He helps us remember God’s Word and obey out of our love for God.”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- *PreK- What were the people who followed Jesus worrying about? (money, possessions, food, clothing)
- *PreK- Who feeds the birds? (God)
- *PreK- Who dresses the flowers? (God)
- *PreK- Who can we ask to give us all we need? (God)
- *PreK- Where does treasure last forever? (in heaven)
- What happened to the rich man who stored up his possessions? (didn’t get to use them, Luke 12:20)
- What does “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” mean? (Guide kids to see that when we value something a lot, we think about it. Whatever we treasure most, we will spend our time and energy trying to get or protect. Help them see that greed distracts us from loving God and obeying His commands to be generous.)
- What do you think treasure in heaven will be like? (Talk to kids about what they think. Gently guide them away from the traditional ideas of gold, silver, or jewels. Help them see that heavenly treasure has more to do with enjoying God’s perfection and living in a perfect, restored world.)
- How can we avoid greed and selfishness? (Help kids understand that to overcome greed we must understand Jesus’ generosity displayed on the cross. As we better understand the extravagant generosity of Christ, our love for Him will move us to show generosity as Jesus did.)
- What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? (Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him.)
Say, “Jesus taught people not to worry because God provides for our needs. It is not sinful to own possessions, but those who love Jesus seek ways to show generosity and glorify God with our stuff.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- In what ways has God been generous toward you and your family? (Guide kids to recognize ways God has provided for their family- physically and spiritually. Point out ways God provides by giving us friends, neighbors, and teachers. Acknowledge His greatest provision, Jesus. Read Isaiah 30:18)
- How can we fight against greed? (Lead kids to recognize that we can fight greed by humbly relying on God and giving generously. We can ask God for what we need and trust that He will answer and provide in the way that is best for us. We can pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in seeking God’s kingdom first. Read James 4:1-2)
- Share about a time you were selfish or felt tempted to act selfishly. How can generosity lead others to Jesus? (Invite kids to share their experiences. Point out that the world teaches that we should look out for ourselves. In Jesus’ kingdom, the opposite is true. We can put others first because God meets all of our needs. When believers live generously, others may ask why and we can share how God has been generous to us by providing eternal life through Jesus. Read 1 Corinthians 10:24)
Reflection- Ask older children to answer one of the following questions:
- What does this story teach me about God or the Gospel?
- What does the story teach me about myself?
- Whom can I tell about this story?
Closing Younger Kid Activity- Lace Flowers Cut out a simple flower shape (daisy, tulip, or search for a free coloring page online) from a piece of heavy paper. Punch holes around the edge (but not too close to the edge). Provide children with either a shoelace or a length of yarn with the end taped to a point. Explain that lacing is similar to how people sew clothing. Encourage children to lace around the edge of the flower. Say, “Practicing sewing on flowers was fun! But no one sews clothing for real flowers. God gives flowers their beautiful petals. Jesus said, ‘If that is how God takes care of the grass- which grows today and is cut down tomorrow- how much more will He do for you?’ Jesus taught people not to worry. God loves and cares for people more than flowers! We can trust God to give us everything we need.”
Closing Older Kid Activity- Ball Toss Blessings Invite everyone to sit in a circle. Begin by tossing a ball to someone while naming a blessing that God provides (such as food, home, clothes, etc.). The person receiving the ball must think of a way that the named blessing could show the love of Jesus to someone else (such as bringing a meal to someone, inviting friends over to play, passing on outgrown clothing). Encourage kids to help one another with answers.
Pray- Thank God for providing for our needs. Pray that kids would recognize that everything they have is a gift from God. Ask God to give them generous hearts and an attitude toward possessions that brings Him glory.
Adult Sunday School Devotion for July 26
“Jesus Teaches about Prayer” from Luke 12
Listen to- “Be Thou My Vision” by 4Him here:
and- “Seek Ye First” by Maranatha here:
Summary- Jesus warned His disciples about hoarding treasure instead of living generously with whatever God gives.
Christ Connection- Jesus left His place of splendor with the Father and lived on earth without wealth so that He could complete the work the Father had given Him to do: establish the kingdom.
Point 1. Be rich toward God (read aloud Luke 12:15-21).
Note- Many stories and fairy tales begin with the juxtaposition of royalty and poverty, purporting to show us that it’s what is on the inside that counts. But we would be remiss if we didn’t also underscore the fact that, by the end of the story, everyone is usually rich! Such is the worldly culture in which we live, where abundant riches serve as a chief marker of a person’s status. According to the Gospel, however, we cannot work our way into heaven, and we cannot save enough to buy our way into heaven. In and of ourselves, we will always be weighed and found wanting. This is the status we all have because of sin. We cannot earn the favor that is required to become sons and daughters of the Most High God. The God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (see Psalm 50:10) is not impressed by our temporal wealth and circumstances. Heaven cannot be earned; it comes with God’s free gift of salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Note- We could be like the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, buried along with every single treasure we own, and we still wouldn’t be able to cart those treasures to heaven or to hell. They would sit there with no place to go as our souls left this earth the same way they entered it- with nothing in tow. Jesus wasn’t using this parable to tell His followers not to have treasure. It was because of a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea that Jesus was able to be buried according to Scripture (see Matthew 27:57-60; Isaiah 53:9). A woman prepared Jesus for burial by anointing Him with a very expensive oil (see Matthew 26:7-13). Jesus’ response to this pouring of oil was not the same as His disciples’, who derided the woman for not giving the money to the poor. Instead, He affirmed her for giving her very best for Him while He was with them. He did not scold her for having expensive oil, because having nice things is not the issue. Nice things become an issue when we hoard them for ourselves and our glory instead of using them to advance God’s glory and His kingdom. In the hands of God who blessed us with them, our treasures can be mighty tools for His kingdom. When used for our own selfish gain, they can be an affront to the God we are called to serve. The man in the parable looked only to his life in the here and now; he ignored the eternal realities impacted by our motivations and actions in this life.
Respond- What will it look like to be rich toward God?
Point 2. Trust in God’s faithful provision (read aloud Luke 12:22-28).
Note- Prayer is not a method to twist God’s arm and convince Him to do right by us; He is already poised to do right by His children. Instead, we pray in faith to express our needs to a Father who delights in hearing the cries of our hearts and in fulfilling our needs. Jesus referred to the ravens, because the fact that God cares so tenderly for creatures who don’t know how to worry shows that our worry adds absolutely nothing to His provision for us and actually works against the cultivation of our faith in Him. As image-bearers of God, we have a responsibility to work and resist laziness (see Genesis 1-2; Proverbs 6:6-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). Yet Jesus in this passage reminds us that our work is not what actually provides for us, though it is commanded of us and a means by which God provides for us. It is God who gives us work to do, and God who gives us provision through that work. It is God who sustains us in ways far beyond our material needs even as He cares for our material needs.
Respond- What are some things we are prone to worry about?
Note- King Solomon, whom Jesus referenced in comparison with wildflowers, was an extremely wealthy man. Having humbly asked the Lord for wisdom to lead God’s people, the Lord granted Solomon wisdom and the blessing of riches (see 1 Kings 3:11-13). He did not lack for much, in part because he had the common sense to steward his resources well. Yet even Solomon, who had very little to worry about materially, was not arrayed as gloriously as the flowers of the fields are. Our heavenly Father knows that our needs are not just material, and even more deeply spiritual. Our physical bodies are not much more durable than the lilies of the field, but nonetheless, we are worth exponentially more than them to our Father. So whether we are as rich as Solomon, poor and destitute, or anywhere in between, our God will supply all of our needs, because He cares for His children (see Philippians 4:19).
Point 3. Seek God’s Kingdom First (read aloud Luke 12:31-34).
Stewardship: We are to invest the time, talents, and material possessions God has given us for His kingdom work, knowing that God is the true owner of all we have, and that our true treasure is found not on earth but in heaven. Motivated by God’s generosity to us made most clear in the Gospel, we are to give God the best of what we have, regularly, sacrificially, humbly, and cheerfully, praying that God may be glorified in our stewardship of His provisions.
Respond- How are we to seek God’s kingdom?
Note- Jesus declared that our heart will be where our treasure is, and He has also told us exactly where our hearts should be: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (seek Mark 12:30). We should love the Lord our God with all of… our hearts, leaving no spare room for the material things of this world; -our souls, giving complete ownership of ourselves and our possessions to Him; -our minds, dwelling on things above and not the mundane worries of this earth; -our strength, toiling for things eternal and not for things that are temporal.
Conclusion- Jesus teaches us that our notion of treasure is usually too narrow. Treasure is not just pirate’s booty and monetary wealth; it is not just earthly. Treasure can also be characterized as heavenly. Heavenly treasure is of far greater importance than its earthly counterparts, and it is because of this heavenly treasure that we can be generous with our earthly treasure. God gives us our earthly resources from His place of abundance, so we needn’t fear, even when we face earthly lack. Because God is the giver of each and every good earthly gift we possess, we can hold those gifts in loose hands as faithful stewards to give as God calls us to. This was Jesus’ intent with His teaching on treasure: to free us from the bonds of greed. The God revealed to us in Jesus is alone worthy of being our true treasure.
Apply- Because Jesus is our greatest treasure, we live with generosity, trusting in God’s provision of our needs, as we seek to steward well the resources God has entrusted to us.
-How will you honor God, the giver of all good gifts, especially salvation by faith in Jesus Christ?
(Pray to the Lord in thanksgiving for His generosity toward His people. Ask for help to steward His gifts well.)