Lesson 3: We give to others because God first gave to us
God loves a cheerful giver. He doesn’t want us to give because we think He will love us more if we do—His love for us is unconditional and infinite. We cannot earn it; we can only receive it! When we give, we should do so because of all that God has given to us. In fact, when we realize that God gives us more than we even need, it is a natural response to share our wealth with others.
First and above all, God gave us His One and Only Son (John 3:16) to save us from our sins and bring us into His family forever. Because of God’s greatest gift to us—and His daily gifts to us—we are able to obey His Word and give generously to others. We know that when we do this, we will never be able to out-give God.
- Put the Global Gift Guide from World Concern or another gift catalog from a charity on the table along with sales flyers from local stores and give everyone in the family two $50 bills, ten $20 bills, ten $10 bills, eighteen $5 bills, and ten $1 bills (in monopoly or other fake money).
- Say: Each of you has $500 to spend. You get to decide how you will spend it. We can pool our money together and buy something as a family, you can spend it on something you want, or you can give it away. But you cannot keep it.
- Look through the charity catalogs together and have everyone choose one thing they want to give. List these on a big sheet of paper.
- List ideas of what people would like to buy or other ways they want to give on the same paper. Be careful not to comment on their ideas, just write them down.
- Write each item from the list you’ve created on a separate index card and place it on the table. Tell everyone they have five minutes to put their money in front of the index card or cards where they want the money to go. Let them wander around the table and spend their money by putting as much or as little as they want to spend until they have spent all of their money.
- When time is up, count the money in each pile and write the total on each index card. (You can quickly divide up this responsibility among participants.) Post the top five projects on the paper that you used for brainstorming in order of how much money each received with the totals written next to it.
- Discuss the following questions:
- How did you feel when you got to choose items to give and/or buy?
- How did you feel when you were handed a bundle of money to spend on those wants/needs and had to spend it all quickly?
- Did your actions, feelings or thoughts reveal anything about how you feel about giving?
Main Lesson from Activity:
God wants us to give freely and cheerfully—not in response to peer pressure or to earn His approval. This exercise gives us a snapshot of our hearts regarding money and priorities. It also lets us know how we feel toward others when they give or choose not to give. We are all in process of living by God’s grace, receiving His gifts with gratitude, and giving freely as He directs us.
John 3:16 For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His One and Only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Matthew 6:19-21, and 24-33 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Responding to God’s Word (Discovery Bible Study):
- Read the scripture passage for today out loud three or four times, with someone different reading it each time. Then ask these questions, allowing time for everyone to respond:
- What does this tell me about God?
- What does this tell me about myself (and people in general)?
- How does God want me to respond to this? Does He want me to change something, to repent of something, to take action (obey)?
- What will I do to obey God this week?
Pray to end your Devotional time:
- Use this time in prayer as another opportunity for your family to learn to communicate with each other and the Lord. Consider these formats for your prayer time and be sure to change it up and use one you haven’t before to keep it interesting:
- After listing prayer requests, ask one person to open and another to close, and tell everyone they are welcome to pray for one of the needs on the list in-between those prayers
- Divide up into pairs and have people pray for each other (pair older siblings or a parent with younger children)
- Use the acronym ACTS to pray—Adoration (praising God for who He is); Confession (admitting anything you’ve done wrong and asking forgiveness); Thanksgiving (thanking God for your life and God’s blessings); Supplication (praying for the needs of others).
Thanks to Micheile Henderson on Unsplash for photo.