DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE you have too much stuff? Toys that get all over your floor and clothes that burst out of your closet? You could get a home with a bigger bedroom or bigger closets—but you’d probably still have too much stuff.
Selfishness leads to wanting more and more stuff, which hurts our world, our families, and ourselves. God has a better plan: unselfish generosity, kindness to others, and being more creative and contented with the things we already have.
MORE-STUFF AND LESS-STUFF MAPS
Make a “more-stuff map.” Draw yourself in the middle of the page. Imagine that you want to get lots of things. In the four corners of the paper, draw pictures of people who suffer when we use up the world’s resources. You might include the factory workers who receive low wages for
making your things, needy families who have little to eat or wear, your parents who work hard to earn money for your home and toys, your brothers and sisters who need things too, and others. Draw arrows from yourself to the other people and write down how getting too much stuff for yourself can hurt others.
Now make a “less-stuff map” and do the same again. This time draw and write how the other people benefit when you choose to get less stuff. Consider how your unselfishness can benefit the world, your family, and yourself.
“THANK YOU” PRAYER WALK
Walk around your home with your family. Thank God for at least 20 things that you are grateful for in each room. Then draw a large outline of your home and write on it some things you’re thankful for in each room. Have lots of stuff? Choose one room at a time and thank God for every single thing in the room. If you don’t feel very thankful for something, perhaps it’s time to give it away!
BAD ATTITUDES AND BIGGER BARNS!
Jesus told a parable about a man who wanted more stuff. Instead of sharing with others and feeding the hungry, he just kept building bigger
barns because he wanted to keep everything for himself. Read his story in Luke 12:16-21. Find a sheet of paper and draw a cartoon version
of this story. Then imagine that the farmer is kind and generous instead and draw a different ending to his story. Show both stories to your family and talk about it. What’s the most important message for you and your family in the parable of the bigger barns? What does Jesus want us to do instead? (See Matthew 6:25-34; 25:31-40.)
TWO GROCERY BAGS
I knew a girl who lived in a country where her family needed to move around and hide to stay safe. She told me that she could only own what she could carry in two grocery bags. Every time they moved she had to give the rest away or leave it behind. Think about everything you own. If you could have only what you could carry in two grocery bags, what would you keep? Draw or write your list in the bags below. Talk about this
with your family. How much do you really need? What would be harder if you had less stuff? And what would be easier?
The more content we are with what we have, the more generous we can be with others. What’s the most unusual gift you ever received?
Write it here: _______________________________________________
People in the Bible sometimes gave each other unusual presents. Search your Bible to unwrap some of these odd gifts. Look up the story, and then write the gifts on the line.
To: David and his men
(1 Samuel 25:14-35) ____________________
To: A wasteful son
From: A loving father
(Luke 15:11-32) ____________________
(1 Samuel 2:18-21) ____________________
To: Ruth and Naomi
(Ruth 2) ____________________
To: King Solomon
From: Queen of Sheba
(1 Kings 10:1-10) ____________________
From: Abraham's servant
(Genesis 24:12-22) ____________________
From: Joseph of Arimatha
(Matthew 27:57-60) ____________________
(Esther 2:8, 9) ____________________
Love From: God
(John 3:16) ____________________
THE DAY I SHARED MY LUNCH!
Read about the boy who shared his lunch with Jesus in John 6:5-13. He was probably very hungry, just like everyone else in the crowd. He could have easily eaten everything in his lunch sack. But he chose to share his bread and fish, and something amazing happened! Imagine you are this boy. Write the story of your experience in your journal. Or imagine that you have arrived home carrying a basketful of leftovers for your own
family. What would you tell your family that evening? What do you think their reactions would be? How would you all respond to Jesus after this?
TRY THESE AT HOME!
• Be generous with Mom and Dad! Find or make something to give to them. Do the same for your brothers and sisters. Surprise them with a gift just because you love them!
• Count exactly how many books and toys you have. Then count how many socks, underpants, pants, shirts, sweaters, skirts, and dresses you have. (It’s OK to write 0 next to the dresses and skirts if you are a boy!) Did you realize that you had so much stuff? Thank God for your blessings, and then give some things away to children who need them more.
• Bored with your toys? Try being creative with boxes and tape or things you can find in nature. Or ask Mom and Dad to download some Lego challenge cards for you to try.
• Feel like buying more stuff? You’ll get more for your money if you go to a yard sale or thrift store.
• Want something? Write it on your wish list with the date. After one month, look at the list and see if you still want it as badly. What have you learned?
• When you go to the store and feel like buying something, ask Mom or Dad what you can buy to help someone else. Notice how good it feels to be generous.
GIVING MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Memorize Luke 6:38 and make up some actions for it. Or go into the kitchen and act it out with cups and grains. Perform the verse for your family. What experiences have you and your family had with being generous, and discovering that God is generous with you too? What could you and your family do to put this verse into action? How does this verse help you when you feel tempted to be selfish?