High School

Better to Give

Lesson 12 

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Fall 2019

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By: Kathy Wenrich 

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November 17, 2019

Lesson Focus:

God calls us to share with those in need.

Bible Basis:

Amos 2:6-8; 5:11, 14-15; 8:4-8a

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Envelopes (1 per student)
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Photocopied pictures from template (1 picture per student; template here has 8 pictures per page)

Summary & Links:

Students will discuss the differences of how we treat others who may not be as blessed as we are, and how we can give out of our own blessings to those in need.

Memory Verse:

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
—Matthew 25:40

Step 1:

Students will discuss the differences of how we treat others who may not be as blessed as we are, and how we can give out of our own blessings to those in need.

Materials Needed:

  • Envelopes (1 per student)
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Photocopied pictures from template (1 picture per student; template here has 8 pictures per page)

Before class begins, print out pages of the picture template found here. Print off one page for every eight students. Each picture depicts a different lifestyle: wealthy, middle class, lower class, poverty.  Cut pictures apart and place each one separately in sealed envelopes; mix them up. As the students come into class, randomly hand each student a sealed envelope with a picture inside that depicts one of the various lifestyles. Explain that they should not open the envelopes until they are instructed to do so.

Our world is made up of those who have more than enough, those who have enough to meet all their needs, those who barely make it from one paycheck to the next, and those who have nothing. The first three of these groups have their medical, housing, food, and transportation needs met by an inheritance, employment, or government welfare. The fourth group, those who have nothing, are homeless and our poorest members of society. They normally live on the streets, in cardboard boxes or makeshift huts, or whatever they can find for shelter. The only way they get their needs met is by picking through trash, begging, or from handouts. They are often snubbed by the others and judged by their lack.

We don’t always get to choose what type of life or values we have. Some are born into fame and wealth, while others are born into a comfortable lifestyle for which they have to work to maintain. Then there are those who are born into and live their entire lives in poverty with little or no resources to change their predicament.

Today you were handed an envelope. The picture inside describes an economic lifestyle. Pretend that you have been born into this and will live in that lifestyle for the remainder of your days. Allow your teens to open their envelopes. Go around the room and allow students to express how they feel about the lifestyle they have been handed. Encourage them to imagine what their life will be like. For students who receive a picture of the lifestyle they actually belong to in real life, ask them to share what some of the dangers of living that way might be (example: if someone actually lives in a low-income situation and receives the poverty picture, they might share that a danger would be discouragement and hopelessness. Someone who lives in an upper middleclass lifestyle who receives that picture might list taking things for granted, a sense of entitlement, or the need to “keep up with the Joneses” as a possible danger.) Once your students have all had a chance to share, discuss:

We all have values that we live our lives by. Our values dictate the type of house we expect to live in, the kind of schools we attend, the type of car we drive, the clothes we wear, or the type of people we interact with.

  • Do we unconsciously communicate values that we don’t really intend to, and if so, how? (Answers will vary, but should include some of the following points: Our values come from the way we are raised, our relationships, and the society we live in. Even though we say we don’t care about popularity, style, money, or other’s opinions—our actions and words tell a different story.)
  • Let’s pretend you are seated next to a new kid at school who is wearing out-of-fashion, ill-fitting, worn clothing, has an outdated haircut, thick glasses, and a slightly unpleasant odor. What would your inward thoughts be, and would you choose to interact with that person? Why or why not? (Allow a few students to answer. Accept all answers without judgment.)
  • What if you were very poor and the new kid was unmistakably from a very wealthy family? What would your thoughts be? Would you choose to interact with that person or keep your distance? Why? (Ask a couple of students to answer question.)

Although it sometimes happens in America, we don’t often see too many living in extreme poverty with a dozen people crammed into a makeshift shack, or people with extended bellies due to malnutrition. But in other countries, the majority of the people live that way. It’s very easy to overlook the needs of others when we aren’t interacting with them on a daily basis. It’s easy to discount them and just not think about their situation since it doesn’t affect us directly.  

Today, we’re going to talk about a group of people who had exactly this type of attitude. They were blessed by God and lived a wealthy lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how God felt about the whole situation and what He had to say about it.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Printouts of charitable organizations (1 per student; template found here has 2 lists per page)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Whiteboard and marker

Note: This step is designed to challenge students to come up with their own way of contributing to a charitable project over the next month. If you opt to organize your own project together as a class, adjust instructions in this step accordingly.

 

Before class, print out and cut apart a list of charitable organizations for each student (the list can be found here; two per page). Contact your church benevolence committee to see if there are any church-wide charitable drives or organized projects that are on-going or seasonal. If there are, be prepared to share that information with your students as well.

We all would like to think we would do whatever is necessary to help someone in need. But that’s not always the case. Whether it be from indifference, ignorance, fear, or greed, we often tend to ignore the “lower” side of humanity. Let’s watch as two young men conduct an experiment on whether people care more about a homeless man or a rich man.

Show the following video [2:49]:
Rich Vs Poor DYING Experiment (HOMELESS Social Experiment)
https://dcc-web-1.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/RLD+Assets/Rich+Vs+Poor+DYING+Experiment+(HOMELESS+Social+Experiment).mp4

There was quite a bit of difference in the way these two men were treated. We’d like to think this never happens, but it does all the time in every area of the world.

  • Why do you think the people chose to help the one person over the other, even though they had the same need? (Answers may include but are not limited to: fear, embarrassment, lack of empathy, pride, and arrogance, etc.)
  • If we were to be perfectly honest, was there ever a situation or time when you chose to look the other way rather than give of your time, talent, or money to someone in need? Why? (You may want to share an experience of your own to encourage your students to share honestly.)

Let’s brainstorm ways that could help us become aware of and gain more empathy for the poor; write down at least three. Hand out paper and pens. Give students time to think and write. Then let volunteers read what they wrote down.

It’s so easy to forget about those who consistently live with great needs in their lives when we tend to live around those who have all our needs met. But God has blessed us so that we can bless others.

This month, let’s answer God’s call to share with those in need. Hand out the lists of charitable organizations along with a pencil or pen as you challenge your students to get their family or a group of friends to plan and pitch in on a project contributing money, time, and/or talent to help the poor. Ask each to contribute what they feel they can. You might organize a non-traditional Christmas party where the guests assemble Christmas “goody” boxes of hats, gloves, toiletries, snacks, and other items for homeless children. Or you may offer to serve at a local soup kitchen, adopt a poor child from a different part of the world through a reputable organization, or have a clothing drive for the homeless. You may decide to collect money to give to the Salvation Army during the holidays. This list is by no means exhaustive—there are other fine organizations nationally and locally you might prefer to plug into. If your church has an ongoing church-wide project already taking place, talk with your students about that opportunity and write that information on the whiteboard.

Whatever you choose, keep a journal of thoughts, attitudes, expectations, and results of your project. As a family or group, discuss the experience and talk about how each person’s life on both sides was or could be affected. Remember to check in with your students weekly over the next month to share how their projects are going.

It is important to keep in mind that God wants us to give out of the blessings He has given us. In Acts 20:35, Paul reiterates Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” He demonstrated this for us while on earth and has asked each of us to live a lifestyle of giving. This isn’t always easy, but if we ask God to help us recognize the needs of others, and are willing to sacrifice because Jesus sacrificed for us, then we will be obedient to the Word of God and have the opportunity to show His love, mercy, and grace to others.

Close in prayer.

Spread the word

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