TEXT: Exodus 20:15,17; 1 Timothy 6:6-8
The students will understand that God wants us to be happy with what we have. No coveting, no stealing!
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: Adapt the Preschool Suggestion using two matchbox cars for your opener. Describe three possible responses of a child who is looking at the cars: to steal them, to envy the owner, or just to be happy to have a chance to play with them.
Progression of events:
- God gave the Children of Israel two instructions concerning the property of others. The first was that they should not steal.
- The other Commandment was an instruction against coveting. We should not be envious or wish to have something that belongs to another.
- God wants us to be content with what we have, in our day also. This is an attitude of the heart, rather than the prohibition of a certain action.
Climax: These two rules concerning how we live are still binding today.
Conclusion: When we have our hearts set on putting God and His commandments first, then we will be content with what He has already given us.
Response: Your students will be able to outline the two types of behavior with regard to the property of others as studied in today's lesson. They will be able to give verbal definitions or examples illustrating the words steal and covet.
The Lord commands us to "be content with such things as ye have" (Hebrews 13:5). The tenth Commandment says, "Thou shalt not covet'' which focuses on the attitude of our heart in contrast to the other Commandments which are prohibitions of specific actions. Clearly, only God could make and enforce this Law, because only He knows the heart.
When Paul reflected on this Commandment, he realized that he, too, had been a law breaker. Outwardly, he had kept the whole Law, but as he said, "I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7).
In fact, Jesus brought the whole Law into the realm of the heart and spirit when He said, "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matthew 5:22 and 1 John 3:15), and "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).
When we have our heart set on things of God and we are fully obeying the first Commandment then we will have little desire for the possessions of others.
- Use flashcards or pictures of a house and school with windows that open to show an item inside.
Bedroom — clothes
Living room — toy
Kitchen — cookie
Class — pencil
Restroom — comb
Playground — bubble-gum cards — barrettes
Each room has something in it that could be stolen. Ask the children how they should react to things that belong to someone else. Be happy and content with what you have.
- Bring a number of items to class that have a name printed on them; for example, a lunch sack, pencil, mug, shirt. Hold up the item and ask: "Whose is this?" Would they wear the shirt even though someone else's name is on it? They will say no, because everyone would know it wasn't theirs. If we take something that doesn't belong to us, God knows, even if there is no name on it.
- Make a set of puzzle squares for each child in your class (see Patterns). Copy the puzzles onto heavy paper, cover them with contact paper, and cut them into squares. Store each puzzle in a plastic Ziploc bag. The puzzle contains six words which describe how you should feel about what you have, and six words which tell how you should not feel about what other people have. The words are split across the center so the children will have to wait until after the puzzle is together to find out what the words are. Have the children match up the squares in the correct order. Talk about the differences that these make in a person's life.
- Give each student a copy of the Don't Steal—Don't Covet puzzle (see Patterns). Have them start at any letter and trace its path to a box. Write that letter in the box. They should do this with each letter, and when they are finished they will discover how God wants them to be.
- What does it mean to covet?
- Why does God want us to be satisfied with what we have?
- What happens when we steal?
- Others watch how we live. How do you think they feel when they see us doing wrong?
- Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you? How did you feel when it was quiet and you were trying to fall asleep at night?
- What is the difference between borrowing and stealing?
- How do you feel when someone has a lot of nice things that you do not have? How do you feel when someone has a lot less than you have?
- Is it all right to steal little things like dimes or cookies?
- After we get saved what do we need to do about the things we have stolen? About the things we have coveted?
- What does restitution mean?
- Compare covetousness with thankfulness.
- Have your students compare the two pictures—one showing children playing alone and one showing children sharing (see Patterns). Draw sad faces on the first picture, and smiles on the second. Tell little stories to illustrate why the children in the pictures are sad or happy—"Sally said, 'No, you can't play with these blocks,'" etc.
- Bring two matchbox cars to class, one old and scratched, and the other new and shiny. Tell your class a make-believe story about a little boy who brought the scratched car to Day Care. While he was there, he saw the shiny car on the shelf and he wanted it very badly. Describe how he yielded to temptation and took the car, but how bad he felt afterwards. Be sure you end the story by having him go back to the Day Care teacher to confess what he did and return the shiny car.
- Make a matching game using colors to help your students understand the Commandments of not stealing or coveting the belongings of others. Use the figures of children and the toys (see Patterns). Color the clothes of one child blue, another red, a third yellow, and the fourth green. Make a complete set of toys for each, coloring the sets with the same colors. Let the students match the child with the toys which belong to that figure, using the colors as a guide. Reinforce the theme of the lesson as they do the matching, saying phrases such as, "That's right, Sally doesn't take the blue ball. The yellow ball is hers," or "Tommy doesn't want Susie's red truck. He has a blue truck."
On a large chalkboard, draw two simple stick figures, one smiling and one frowning. Name them Gloomy Glen and Cheerful Chuck. Make a list of different situations and ask the children how they would respond if they were one of the above characters. For example, they each received a new bicycle for Christmas. Gloomy says, "It's not as nice as Chuck's new bike." Cheerful says, "Wow, now I can ride my own bike to school. Thank you!" A thankful heart is more content. Remembering the good things God has given us makes us content. Encourage the children to be this way. When we don't have our eyes on Jesus we are likely to be unhappy and want what somebody else has. God says no. It's not ours. Give different examples to illustrate this point using your two characters.
For your review prepare a question and answer game similar to the Hot Potato game, except use a beanbag rather than a potato. You might wish to use the questions given for this lesson and add to them. Or, you may prepare a completely new set of questions. Seat everyone in a circle and start passing around the beanbag. When you say, Stop! the person holding the beanbag must answer a question.
- Mine and Yours — Ready-Set-Grow! Series by Joy Wilt Berry, Gospel Publishing House
- Honesty— by Jane Belk Moncure, Standard Publishing
- Why Do I Do Things Wrong? — by Carolyn Nystrom, Children's Bible Basic Book, Gospel Publishing House
- Let's Talk About Stealing — by Joy Wilt Berry, Grolier Enterprises, Inc.