TEXT: Proverbs 3:9-10; Matthew 19:16-22
The students will be able to enumerate some of the blessings that are in store for those who willingly give of their substance to God.
Time: February-March A.D. 30
Locality: The coasts of Judah, beyond Jordan (Matthew 19:1).
Jesus: About 33 years old during the last month of His ministry on earth.
Rich Young Ruler: Thought to be a ruler of the synagogue; a Jew of noble birth. Most people addressed Jesus as “Lord” or “Son of David,” but this man uses the title “Good Master,” thus showing a polite address without quite admitting that he is addressing the Messiah. “There came one running, and kneeled to him,” (Mark 10:17) seems to indicate the rich young ruler’s earnest feelings in seeking Jesus. “Kneeled,” indicates his reverence toward Jesus. He asks Jesus, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Since this young man had kept the Commandments from his youth up, the implication was that there must still be a secret combination he had overlooked. Mark 10:21 tells us, “Jesus beholding him loved him.” Because Jesus loved the young man, He told him to sell everything he had, give to the poor, and follow Him. If he did that, he would have treasures in Heaven.
Abraham had great riches, and it is no coincidence that he was the first man mentioned in the Bible who did. He was also the first mentioned who paid tithes. God honored this and permitted him to achieve great riches.
Jesus drove money changers out of the Temple, accusing them of making a house of merchandise out of His Father’s House.
Jesus died on the cross and made salvation possible, not only so that we could enter into Heaven, but so that He could work through us and accomplish things He wants to have done in this world. To each of us who has been saved, He has given the commission to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, deliver the oppressed into freedom, and bring justice to the downtrodden. He wants us to be instruments through which such important things can be done. As we consecrate our all, including our finances to be used for God’s work, we can be assured that we will receive God’s greatest blessings.
- Many people misquote the verse in 1 Timothy 6:10 and say, “Money is the root of all evil.” However, Scripture says it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. What is the difference? Give a hypothetical example.
Response: Allow your students to share their thoughts. They should conclude that in our society money is a necessary part of life. However, if their desire for money comes before their commitment to God they can be sure that nothing good will come of it. There is no right way to do a wrong thing.
- It is possible to have a small amount of money, yet be so consumed with desire for more money that one can think of little else. Some people even say that once they get what they feel they need, then they will begin to serve God as they know they should. Unfortunately, the “green spot over the hill” is never quite reached, so the Lord is not served. Others may say they know God is blessing their lives because they have an abundance of material goods. Does one’s material wealth prove he has God’s blessing? If not, what is the proof that God is blessing him?
Response: As the class discusses this question, they should conclude that one’s material wealth does not prove he has God’s blessing. Sinners also receive promotions, financial gains, etc. The true measure of God’s blessing comes with inward peace and contentment. An evidence of this is the demonstration of a Heaven-born love for people and the desire to help them find salvation so they can have that same peace and contentment.
- Read Acts 2:44-47 and describe the feelings in the hearts of that group of early Christians who gave of their substance to God. Are these feelings any different than what the world desires now? Explain.
Response: Your students should realize that gladness, singleness of heart, happiness, etc., were some of the blessings the Early Church received by giving freely. Happiness is obviously what everyone in this world is looking for. As others see the joy in giving, many more will often respond. In so doing, more lives are touched by God’s love.
- A part of giving money is done by means of tithing. The word tithe means “a tenth part.” We first read about tithing in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 14:20). In chapter 28, verse 22, we see where Jacob vowed a vow and said, “All that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Other references are Leviticus 27:30; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Malachi 3:10. We never would think of robbing a bank or stealing money from our neighbor, but how about from God himself? Read Malachi 3:8-10 and explain what you think these verses are saying. How does Matthew 23:23 indicate that tithing was still necessary after Jesus fulfilled the Law?
Response: Malachi rebuked the people because they had failed to pay their tithes and offerings. Under the Old Testament Law of Moses, tithes and certain offerings were required to help support the priests and care for those in need. To fail to do so was the same as robbing God. Though tithing is not dwelt upon in the New Testament, Matthew 23:23 shows us that it was still approved of and supported by Jesus. When He was giving a warning to the scribes and Pharisees, calling them hypocrites, He told them that though they paid tithes they neglected the important matters like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Jesus told them they should pay heed to those things as well as give tithes. Jesus expects no less from the Christian today.
- Jesus spoke the words of our key verse when He was instructing His disciples on the requirements of their spiritual life. Read the key verse and explain what it means.
Response: The students should see that if we give, our giving will not be a loss but a gain. Help them to understand that this may not necessarily be material gain, such as lots of money, a new car, expensive vacations, or even free music lessons, but that the Lord will surely bless them spiritually.
- It is good to reflect on the past and analyze how often the Lord has come through for us, not only spiritually but materially. Think back over the times you have given to the Lord and write down how the Lord has blessed you through your life. Remember the last line of the key verse.
Response: Let your students share the experiences they have written about. Reinforce the key verse. Wrap up the lesson by discussing the concluding paragraph from the SEARCH lesson.
We who are members of the Church (the believers) must be reminded that the Church does not exist to be served and to be the receiver of gifts. Instead, the Church exists to serve and give of itself to others, just as Jesus was rich and became poor for our sake. We must learn that the best gift we can give to Jesus is ourselves. This means, then, that we will live to serve the least of our brothers and sisters and be willing to give of our resources to meet their needs. As children of God, He expects us to do what we can to meet the needs of others so they can see and experience His love also.
Material needed: Piggy bank or savings account passbook, money or checkbook, and tithe envelope (depending on age group). Illustrate that a piggy bank and a bank or savings association are some of the places in which to save money. The tithe envelope is where you put your money when giving money to God. Read Malachi 3:10 and 2 Corinthians 9:7 to the class.
Material needed: Measuring spoons, measuring cups, measuring tape, and a ruler. Put these items into a sack. Take the items out of the sack in above order discussing the uses of each. Point out that they all have one thing in common—they are all used for measuring. Illustrate that God packs blessings for us in overflowing measure. If we give to the Lord then we will receive in return. We can never outgive the Lord! This would be a good time to read Luke 6:38.
Material needed: One tablespoon of alfalfa seeds, and a quart jar filled with water. On the first Sunday, put seeds into jar. On the next Sunday, show your students how the small amount of seeds grew. Use this to illustrate that little is much with God. If we do what God wants us to do with our money He will bless us to overflowing—just like the seeds did on the second Sunday.
Material needed: Two words “MISER” and “ABLE” printed in flashcard form. Illustrate that a person who is miserable is in a condition of misery. Take away the word “ABLE” and you now have “MISER” or a greedy person. And being a “MISER” does not mean you are stingy with only your money. Now place the word “ABLE” (taking away word “MISER”) which is what God makes us when we give Him our all.