Middle School

The Greener Grass Syndrome

Lesson 10 

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Winter 2019-20

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By: Kelsey Grulke 

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February 02, 2020

Lesson Focus:

Comparison can lead to discontent.

Bible Basis:

Matthew 20:1-16

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access
  • Whiteboard and marker

Summary & Links:

Students will watch a video about amazing kids’ rooms and begin to see how comparison can steal their joy.

Memory Verse:

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:19

Step 1:

Students will watch a video about amazing kids’ rooms and begin to see how comparison can steal their joy.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Whiteboard and marker

Welcome your students as they enter. As everyone settles in, ask the students to share their favorite thing about their bedroom. Maybe they love that they don’t have to share with a sibling or that they just got a new comforter. They could like the paint color or the new gaming system they got for Christmas. Make sure each of your students shares something they like about it—even if it is limited to “it’s cozy” or “it’s nice to have someplace to go when I am tired.” As your students respond, write their answers about what makes their bedroom great on the whiteboard.

We all have a lot to be thankful for. It can be easy to feel a little jealous of what someone else has if it seems better than ours though, can’t it? Let’s watch a video of some of the coolest kids’ bedrooms out there.

Share the following video [1:32]:
5 Amazing Kids’ Bedrooms

  • What were some of your favorite rooms or features from the video we just watched? (Answers will vary.)
  • What would your ideal bedroom be like? (Answers will vary. Encourage creative discussion.)
  • How does seeing these amazing rooms or hearing about friends’ rooms that might be cooler than yours change how you feel about your own? (While some may insist they like their room best, most will probably say, “Yes, it makes me wish I had a better room.” 
  • Do these amazing bedrooms change anything about yours? (No. Our rooms are still exactly the same.)

It’s funny how comparing what we have to what others have can change how we feel about the blessings God has given us. We started by discussing what we love about our rooms, and we ended dreaming about things we don’t have. Somehow, what we have can seem a little bit worse when we compare it to what someone else has. Let’s take a look at a story Jesus told warning us against doing just that.

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:

  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Index cards (6 per student)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Envelopes (1 per student)

Many of us can find ourselves in the position of the day laborers from today’s story a lot. It is so easy to get sucked into thinking about what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do have. What does our memory verse remind us?

Ask one student volunteer to read the memory verse (Philippians 4:19).

God promises to meet all our needs. Maybe not always in the way we expect or in the way we want, but God promises to meet our needs. That’s great news! Think about how much peace we can have when we focus on all the good God has given us and all the good He has promised us. It’s easy to forget that in our daily lives though, isn’t it? Thankfully, there’s a way to combat our discontent. Gratitude. Remembering what we’re thankful for is the perfect antidote to discontent and jealousy. Let’s start practicing this now.

Ask for a volunteer or two to be the scribes and stand at the whiteboard. Give the students two minutes to write down all the things they’re thankful for. When you’re finished, have everyone look at the list.

  • How does it feel to think about all the things you’re thankful for? (I feel happy, I realize that my life is pretty good, etc.)
  • How does it feel when you think about all the things you don’t have instead? (I feel jealous, annoyed, angry, discontent, etc.)

Hand out one envelope per student plus index cards and pens/pencils. Ask each student to write the word “Gratitude” on their envelope. Make sure each student has six index cards. Have them write each day of the week (one per index card) from Monday to Saturday across the top of the cards and number each card from one to five.

Challenge them to keep track of things that they are thankful for. They should try to write down at least five things every day without duplicating anything. Once they have filled out their card for the day, they should put it in their envelope. Every night before they go to bed, urge them to set aside some time to pray thanking God for all of those blessings. At the end of the week, look over all your daily lists of things you are thankful for. See if your attitude changes during the week when you’re focused on gratitude instead of comparison.

End by praying together. During the prayer, ask each student to thank God for one thing. End the prayer by asking for the strength to stop the comparison game and live in gratitude.

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