Heavenly Father, As we gather together today, open our minds and our hearts to the understanding
of Your teachings. Help us to be more like Jesus in our thoughts, words, and
actions. May we learn to set our sights not on earthly things, but on things
above which will draw us closer to where we want to be with you
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
OUR WILL vs. GODS WILL
"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but
yours be done." Luke 22:42
What mattered more to Jesus; what he wanted or what God wanted?
EARTHLY THINGS vs. SPIRITUAL THINGS
A certain ruler asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit
eternal life?" . . . Jesus said to him, you know the commandments . .
. The ruler
replied, "I have kept all the commandments since my youth." When Jesus
heard this, he said to him, "There is still one thing lacking. Sell all
that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in
heaven; then come, follow me." But when he heard this, he became sad; for
he was very rich. Luke 18:18-23
What is more important; treasure on earth or treasure in heaven?
MORTAL LIFE vs. ETERNAL LIFE
And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying,
"He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his
chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour
wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save
yourself!".... One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him
and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the
other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the
same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we
are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing
wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your
kingdom." Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me
in Paradise." Luke 23:35-43
We know that Jesus performed many miracles and saved people from death. He
could have saved himself from death on the cross, but he chose to die anyway.
What was more important to Jesus: his own mortal life or the eternal lives of
There were two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus. One wanted his
earthly life saved. One wanted his eternal life saved. Which one got what he
Need - "Earthly Things and Spiritual Things" circle cut-outs; scissors; markers and/or crayons.
Each person gets one set of "Earthly Things" and "Spiritual Things" circles. On each circle, decorate it with a picture or words describing something Earthly or something Spiritually, respectively. Then cut out the circles - making sure the largest outline of the circle is cut out so that the words still remain on the picture.
After everyone is finished, discuss around the room the Earthly and Spiritual Things each person drew or wrote about -- what they are, how they are important to us.
Collect the circles as they are discussed (for the next activity).
Guardian of the Treasure game. Need: large areas on the floor; and the "Things" circles.
Divide up the students into at least two teams. One person from each team is a "guardian." (Different colored name tags can be used to denote teams.)
Sort and divide up the Things into even piles, one Spiritual and one Earthly pile for each group.
On the floor, put a pile of the Spiritual Things on one end of the team area and the Earthly Things on the other end. Make sure that the student who is the guardian cannot reach or protect the two piles at the same time.
On one side of the Things piles, the guardian will kneel in the center so that the piles are directly in front of him. Across from the guardian (on the other side of the piles), the remaining players from the opposing team will kneel at least the room's length way.
The game begins with the opposing team walking on their knees to try and take one of the "Things" in either pile. When a "Thing" is taken, the player may get up and run back to the start area, depositing the Thing in a team pile.
The guardian must try to guard from his "Things" being stolen. The guardian must also on his knees. To prevent the opposing team from taking a "Thing," the guardian needs only to touch the person on the opposing team. When that person is touched, then he or she must drop their Thing back on to the pile, get up and walk back to the far area where they started, get back down on their knees and try again.
You are not allowed to stop and wait when approaching the Things piles. The game must be in continual motion.
The game is over when an opposing team is able to take all of the "Things." The first team to do this is the winner. If the game goes too quickly, then students may take turns being the guardian.
DISCUSSION AFTER THE GAME:
In the Guardian of the Treasure game, did you find it difficult to guard both the Earthly Things and the Spiritual Things at the same time?
How does this relate to our lesson today and in our lives?
What happens if we try to place importance (or guard) both Spiritual and Earthly things at the same time?
If we only guarded our Earthly Things, what would happen to our Spiritual Things?
Which things does Jesus tell us are the most important?
Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians tells us: "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4)
Needs - poster board labeled with "Things Above (Spiritual)" on the top and "Earthly Things" near the bottom; and tape. If there is time, students may decorate the poster board.
Have students tape their Spiritual Things and Earthly Things on the poster board in their respective places.
Needs - Colossians handout with Bible quote on it; writing instruments.
Pass out handout. Have students read it over and try to answer the question: ~ In the Colossians quote, it tells us to "SET" our minds on things above. What does it mean to "set" something? How can we "set" our mind on something? What should we be setting our minds on? Paul didn't simply mean Christians are supposed to think good thoughts and avoid sin (although that is part of the message). The word translated "set" is the Greek word
"phroneo," which means "to be minded in a certain way." It refers to an intentional focusing of the mind on God and his ways, especially reflecting and meditating on how living for God should impact the way we live every day.
Needs - Set Your Focus On God sheets; tape; markers.
Have students decorate their potential "telescopes," then after they are decorated, fold the paper around until it becomes a tube, matching the edge of the paper with the marked line, and tape it.. Then students should remove their "Spiritual Things" from the poster, and use it so that the picture or words they have made in the circle show through the end of the telescope by taping the Spiritual Thing to the end of the paper tube. That way, when the students look through their paper tube
telescopes, they will be focused on their Spiritual Thing.