Focus Passage: Mark 10: 17-31
Memory Verse: “…you will have treasure in Heaven, then, come follow me.”
Items for Preparation
-Have something kids would consider a very fine treasure: a toy or two on the Hot Toy of the Moment list; a $20 bill; maybe a piece of jewelry you have that looks like big bling; a gold coin. Get a little something that will make kids look and say “ooh, aah.” Just one or two things, doesn’t take much. They are just props to help kids get a feeling of desire for “stuff” so they’ll understand the emotional question we are discussing.
-have an offering plate handy nearby. You will put your treasure inside it as you talk.
Read the adult lessons in Baptists Today and additional material at Nurturing Faith online. We have at times misinterpreted this conversation Jesus has with the rich man and his listeners. It’s not about some magical property of wealth that keeps us out of eternal life. It’s about how emotionally difficult it is for human beings to pay primary attention to their wealth and simultaneously pay primary attention to their spiritual health. Just can’t do both. Gotta choose, which is just the thing Jesus realized the rich guy couldn’t do. So that was what Jesus asked, out of pure love for the guy. What is it that you could never give up? Whatever that is, that is what Jesus would ask of you, out of love. Hmmm…
[Have your treasure displayed. Allow for responses from kids, or questions.]
Say: Jesus talked about giving up the things we treasure so that we can feel how valuable it is to belong to God and to be part of God’s Kingdom. It can be confusing to think about it. We all have things we treasure. We all want some good treasures from Santa at Christmas, or in presents on our birthdays. We want to have enough money, and a comfortable home, and nice clothes, and to eat delicious food we like. We all want these things. It is just part of being a person – we like what we like, don’t we!
Say: If I asked you to name your most valuable treasure, what would you say? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Each person in this room has a list of things they treasure. But Jesus wanted us to understand that belonging to God is the best treasure we can possibly have. It is better than any of these things.
[Now put your treasure into the offering plate.]
Say: Jesus helped his friends understand. He said to go and sell our best treasures, and give the money to the offering plate to go to poor people who need it, and then we’d be able to follow Jesus as good disciples. Now, wait just a minute! I don’t want to sell my treasure and give away the money! I don’t want to lose what I treasure! Do you? No way!
Say: But Jesus was very smart; he knew how to help us understand. When we think how much we care about our treasure, Jesus is asking us to care about God more. Do you think we can do that? Can we care, not about getting treasures, but about being Jesus-followers?
Say: If Jesus asked you to give up what you treasure most, to sell it, to give that money to the offering…what treasure would that be? Whatever it is, it is not nearly as good as the treasure of belonging to God and following Jesus. Now, imagine that for a minute. Imagine that belonging to God, being a Jesus-follower, is even better than your treasure. Wow! That feels just wonderful.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O Lord of all,
Heaven and earth are yours,
And we belong to you.
All we have belongs to you too.
Teach us to treasure the best things:
Love, forgiveness, hope, and each other,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.