The Selfish Rich Man

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 34 - Parables of Jesus

TEXT: Luke 12:15-21; 1 Timothy 6:6-11, 17-19


The students will be able to tell the story of the selfish rich man. They will be able to explain why it is more blessed to give to others than to receive more and more for themselves.


Introduction: Use a heart-shaped box as described under In-Class Activities to begin your class session. Tell your students that this heart box is going to help you learn today's story. Inside are pictures of what was in the rich man's heart. Tell them that you want them to decide if God was happy with what He saw when He looked inside.

  1. A certain rich man had crops so great that he had no room for the harvest.
  2. He said, "I will build bigger barns where I can store all my goods; I will be secure for many years."
  3. The selfish rich man heard God say, "This night you will die. Then what will happen to all you have?"

Climax: God called the selfish rich man a fool because he laid up treasures for himself, but forgot God and his fellow man.

Conclusion: The Bible says, "The love of money is the root of all evil." It teaches us not to trust in riches, and if God blesses with material things we should share with others. By giving as unto the Lord we are laying up treasures in Heaven.

Response: The students will be able to tell the story of the selfish rich man. They can explain why it is more blessed to give to others than to receive things for themselves.


The Lord has always expected man to show compassion to his fellow man. In Leviticus 19:18 we read, "But thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Deuteronomy 24:19-21 states that those who worked in the fields should not thoroughly harvest their crops, but should leave some for the poor and the strangers. The story in today's lesson portrays a man who accumulated a lot of earthly goods, but did not thank God that his ground brought forth plentifully. Instead of considering the poor, he planned to tear down his barns and build larger so he could keep everything for himself. In this parable God judged the rich man, pointing out the folly of being greedy. We read that those who stand before the judgment seat of Christ will be judged according to the way they have treated their fellow man (Matthew 25:31-46). So it is indeed imperative that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Another significant lesson to be learned is that it is vitally important to take God into consideration when we make our plans. James 4:15 states "that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”


  • Copy enough of the "Giving for Jesus" work sheets so each of your students have one (see Patterns). Tell them to start at the HAVE column, find a NEED to match, and then find how it made a DIFFERENCE. There are three sets given for them to complete. Let them think of something they have that they can share. Then, on the lines at the bottom of the page, help them complete a set for themselves. This will help them to learn that sharing what they have when they see a need can make a difference, big or small.
  • Give each of your students a copy of the Modern Day Parable barn (see Patterns). Ask them to illustrate their idea of sharing and not sharing.
  • Find a heart-shaped candy box and cover the top with spotted paper to represent sin spots. Cut five hearts the same size from construction paper. On each heart mount one of the pictures of what was in the rich man's heart (see Patterns). These will include a bag of money, barn, crops, himself, other people crossed out.
  • Use the two sizes of barns sold at the Hickory Farms store. They are a good prop for telling the story of the Selfish Rich Man. Playmobil or Fisher-Price figures can be used with the barn.
  • Make copies of the cookie-barn boxes for each child (see Patterns). When it comes time for the rich man to think of building more barns, let the children help build them. Then fill them with animal cookies (or whatever). Tell them this is what the rich man wanted to do but suddenly he died. Now what? He wouldn't share when he was alive. But when he died and left everything, other people got to enjoy the riches God had given him. Let the children keep their barns and remind them to be sure to thank God for all they have and to share with others.


  1. Why did Jesus call this man a "rich" man?
  2. Why is it better to give than to receive?
  3. What do we need to have more than money and toys and clothes?
  4. The rich man worked hard. What was missing from his life?
  5. What is the most important part of making plans for our life?
  6. What can we do with riches in order to have God's blessing?
  7. Why did the rich man want to do everything his own way?
  8. If we trust in Jesus, will He take care of us? Why or why not?


  • Cut out one of the fold-up barns for each of your children (see Patterns). Give them several stickers of food, animals, etc., to stick to the inside of their barns. Help them fold their barns and use them to help tell the story of the rich man who wouldn't share.
  • Make a copy of the rich man's barn for each child (see Patterns). Have the children color the barn. Add farm-animal stickers to the barnyard. Also add various kinds of fruit and vegetable stickers, as well as hay or grain stickers. Tell the story of the rich man and how he kept all the wealth of his harvest to himself while others may have been needy. He thought only of his own temporal needs and forgot his soul's needs.
  • Make "Kindness Coupons" (see Patterns) from colored paper or make up your own designs and have students color and print their name on them. Allow the students to take one or several home each week. They should then be given to grandparents, neighbors, or others the child might have opportunity to help. Talk to the class about things they can do to help others of their family, school friends, or neighbors, emphasizing that it is fun and helpful to do something for others.
  • Cut out two treasure chests (see Patterns). Make a back for each one. Glue three sides of each set together, leaving the top open to form a pocket. (As an alternative, make treasure chests from shoe boxes or other boxes.) Title one, the SELFISH TREASURE CHEST. Inside the pocket or box put jewelry, money, and pictures of cars, trucks, boats, houses, skiing equipment, clothes, bikes, etc.—things one might treasure more than Jesus. Title the other one, the BLESSED TREASURE CHEST. Inside the pocket or box put a small Bible or Testament, picture of Jesus, white heart, picture of church, tract, invitation to Sunday school, and pictures of family and friends. As you explain the story to the class, show them your treasure chests and talk about the items as you take them out. Explain that Jesus gives us many blessings. We shouldn't just keep them as treasures but we should help the less fortunate, invite children to Sunday school, and tell others about Jesus and Heaven. In other words, we should share our blessings.
  • For each child prepare a small barn with a door that opens (see Patterns). Have them put a Jesus sticker inside the door to remind them to keep Jesus first in their hearts.


Enlarge pictures given to fit in heart-shaped box described under In-Class Activities. Make these into stick puppets to illustrate the lesson. These include: farmer, moneybag, barn, crops, other people crossed out. You might also wish to include a question mark, torn-down barn, larger barn, cloud representing God's voice from Heaven.

Use three or four boxes of different sizes. Turn the boxes upside down and attach a barn picture to the front of each. Under each of the boxes, except the largest, place a bowl and have a small amount of food in each one. Under the largest box (the rich man's barn), place a bowl which is filled with food. As you tell the story, keep adding things to the rich man's barn until it is too full. He had all those good things and yet he wouldn't share, even though he had much more than his neighbors (show smaller barn's contents). Then ask, "What happened to the rich man after God spoke to him? Did he get to take his riches with him? Does it pay to be greedy?"