My natural default mode is NOT to give, serve, or put others first.
In fact, I often put myself first. I’m a work in progress.
I’m married with three kids, ages 13, 11 and 9. Our family loves taking a trip to Costco and loading up on tons of groceries. Yum!
The best part is coming home and taking inventory of all the goodies. As soon as we get home we usually dive right in and eat 4-5 of our favorite snacks on the spot. Awesome 🙂
The problem arises when we have similar favorites.
For example, my two favorites we regularly get a big box of are Kind Granola Bars and Kashi Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The problem is that both my son Joey (11 year old) and daughter Emma (9 year old) love them too.
Sometimes the box is completely empty because they devoured them after only a day or so. This drives me crazy because I wanted some too! Grrrr.
So, I figured out a solution to this problem.
Hide them in my office closet so they can’t find them in the pantry. That way I can have them all to myself!
Well, maybe not for obvious reasons. When doing this, I’m putting myself first and not thinking of them.
Not a good way to live nor is it a good lesson to teach my kids.
But, like I said, I’m a work in progress 🙂
The teenagers in your ministry probably struggle with the concept of giving as well. Like me, they know it’s the right thing to do. They just neglect actually living it out in every day situations.
Use this free youth group lesson to teach students the importance of giving.
Help students realize that when they give to others, God gives to them.
– Nick Diliberto, Creator of Ministry to Youth
Youth Group Lesson on Giving
Scripture: Luke 6:38
Use this game to help students understand the importance of a giving heart.
Different sized jars, cups, and bowls
How to Play Opening Game
Set up the jars, cups, and bowls on the floor. You can put some close to each other and some spread out more.
Mark several lines with the tape in front of the jars. Make the first line right in front of them, the next line a few feet back, the next line further back, etc. Do this until the final line is all the way across the room from the jars.
Give each student five pennies. Explain that the goal is to get the pennies into the jars (and cups or whatever else you have put out).
For each penny they land in a jar, they get two more pennies. If they don’t make it in the jar, they get nothing.
Have the students line up behind the first line and let everyone toss a penny. Give the students who make it into a jar two more pennies. The ones who don’t are down one penny.
Once everyone has gone, have them move to the next line and repeat this. Again, give the winners two more pennies.
Continue going through all the taped off lines. Once a student runs out of pennies, they are out.
Once you get to the last line, have remaining students compete until there is just one student left. The last student to still have any pennies wins.
After the game, discuss the following questions:
- Was that game harder than you thought it was going to be?
- Do you think you would have had a better chance of winning if you had stayed at the first line the whole time?
- Did it make it harder to win since the only way to get more pennies was to give up the ones you already had?
After the game, say:
That was a pretty interesting game, right? To win, you had to get more pennies than anyone else. But in order to get more, you had to give up the ones you already had. That made it difficult, right?
That’s kind of how it is in life, isn’t it? God gives us things—money, talents, time—and we have the choice of what to do with those things. We can have an attitude that says it’s all about us, and we can choose to hold tightly to everything we have, making sure we never give anything away.
Or, we can choose to have a giving heart.
Which one do you think will work out better for us in the end?
Read Luke 6:38:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Does that remind you of anything? What do you do when a bag is full, but you’re trying to fit more into it? You press it down, right? You shove the stuff in, shake it around, and try to make room for more.
That’s what this verse is saying. The measure in which it will be give back to you will be so much that it’s been pressed down, shaken together, and it’s still running over.
I don’t know about you, but that’s something I want to get in on!
But first, we have to give. And that just doesn’t make sense, does it? That we have to give in order to get?
In the game we played, you could have held onto all of your pennies and never tried to make them into a cup or a jar. But if you had done that, you never would have gotten any new pennies, either.
This verse is not just talking about money; it’s talking about everything. It can be hard to get rid of that “everything is all about me!” kind of attitude, but that’s what God wants us to do.
See, God has already blessed you. Think about it! Sure, some of you probably have money, but that’s not all He’s blessed you with. He’s given you time, talents, friendship, compassion, and so many other things that you have to give.
You can choose to hold onto those things and keep them for yourself. You can choose to not have a giving heart.
Or, you can choose to have a giving heart, and in turn, things will be given back to you.
Does it make sense to you that giving leads to getting more than you had in the first place?
Would you describe your attitude right now as one that has a giving heart, or one that is all about yourself?
What are some things that you have that you can give?
Has there ever been a time before where you’ve been blessed because you chose to give?
Listen, I’m not saying that if you put five dollars in the offering today, that ten dollars will show up in your locker tomorrow. Of course, it might! But that’s not what this is about. It’s about your heart.
Let’s say there’s someone at your school who doesn’t have any friends and who’s kind of an outsider. God has given you friendship, and you get to choose who to give it to. Imagine that you befriend this person, giving of your friendship and time. In turn, God blesses you with the best friend you’ve ever had, because you were willing to give.
That’s the heart of God. He wants to give back to you, pressed down, shaken together, and still overflowing. But He can only do that if you have a giving heart.
Having a giving heart blesses others and it blesses you. I’d say that’s a win-win situation, wouldn’t you?
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