A youth group discussion starter on money, wealth and Christian giving.
From the wisdom of the proverbs, the parables and teaching of Jesus, to Paul’s letters to the first Christians and churches, the Bible has a lot to say about money, our attitudes to wealth and possessions and the challenges and joys of faithful stewardship and Christian giving.
Have sheets of flipchart paper, pencils, pens, markers and modern translations of the Bible available for this activity. Divide the young people into pairs. Explain that the group will be creating a series of cartoons on money, lifestyle and giving. Each pair can either create a strip cartoon or a single image. Encourage them to make their cartoon as large as possible. The cartoon can either be a simple black and white drawing or in full Technicolor!
Write up the Bible references on a flipchart as the basis for each cartoon. Ask each pair to select a verse or passage, and let the doodling begin!
- Luke 12: 13-21
- Matthew 6: 19-21
- Luke 16: 13
- Proverbs 11: 24
- Proverbs 21: 26
- 1 Timothy 6: 7-8
- 1Timothy 6: 9-10
- 1 Timothy 6: 17-18
After 20 minutes, review the artistic efforts of your group. Ask each pair to read out the verse or passage to accompany their cartoon.
Ask a member of the group to read 1 Timothy 6: 6-9, 17-19. Everyone then takes a sheet of paper and writes five symbols down the left hand side (see below). After quietly reading through the Bible passage again, each person writes (next to the appropriate symbol) what they think the passage is saying. After 10 minutes of individual work, encourage the group to share their findings together.
ARROW POINTING UP
Write something theses verses tell us about Jesus/God
ARROW POINTING DOWN
Write something these verses tell us about human nature
A LIGHT BULB
Write down any new discovery you have made
AN EXCLAMATION MARK!
Write down the most exciting verse in your opinion and why
A QUESTION MARK?
Write anything you don't understand or want to ask about
ARROW POINTING TO SIDE
Write down something these verses say we should do
Where there are questions, encourage group discussion before adding your own comments or teaching.
Paul reminds us that wealth and possessions are not guarantees for joy and happiness. Material things can never meet spiritual needs. He says that the pursuit of wealth can be a major distraction for believers. In v10 Paul was not condemning money in itself, he was warning about the love of money. He understood that a love of money can quickly replace a love of God. 1 Timothy 6: 18 contains four instructions for wealthy people,
- They are to use their wealth and possessions in a positive way.
- They are to be known for activity that is recognised as good.
- They are to be generous, going out of their way to help others.
- They are to do this willingly.
But I’m not wealthy or rich? What has this to do with me? These instructions are also for us. Even though we may not consider ourselves wealthy, we are rich in comparison with much of the rest of the world.
So what does the Bible say about giving? Ask the group to divide into pairs and search out the references. Ask them to list the main point of each verse and then summarise what they have discovered about Christian giving and generosity to share with the rest of the group.
- Proverbs: 22: 9
- Proverbs: 11: 25
- Proverbs 19: 17
- Proverbs 21: 25-26
- Proverbs 28: 27
- Matthew 5: 42
- Luke 12: 33
- Luke 16: 9
- 2 Corinthians 9: 7-8
WHERE DO I START?
So how much should I give? Clearly this is a question which might be raised in your discussion. Paul presents a biblical standard in 2 Corinthians 8:11-12,
‘Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.’
Giving a proportion of income good advice as it makes and keeps the connection between income and giving throughout our lives.
What proportion (or percentage)? Many Christians around the world use the standard given in Deuteronomy 14: 22-23. Where 10%, or a tithe, is used as the starting point for giving to God.
Remember that in discussions on giving with young people our role should be to highlight the teaching of scripture, encourage discussion and reflection, and not dictate a specific amount or create peer pressure among the group.
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‘Live to Give’ is taken from a series of discussion starters on money, wealth, debt, Christian giving and stewardship written by myself for red2black, a UK based campaign to encourage and support churches in tackling debt issues in their congregation and community.