Key Scriptures: Luke 2:41-52, Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-27, Matthew 9:9, Mark 1:16-20, John 1:43-51, Matthew 5:16, James 2:14-17, Hebrews 13:16, I Timothy 6:17-19, James 1:27, Hebrews 10:24, Ephesians 2:10
Guiding Question: How can we discover, develop and use the gifts and talents God has given us to serve Him?
Optional Introductory Activity: Bring in gifts bags. If resources allow, prepare one for each students (including possible visitors). If resources are limited, wrap one large gift box. Ask students if this gift were to them from God and represents everything He gave them at birth, what is in the box? Quickly shift the focus from material things to personal things like intelligence, personality traits and talents, etc. If time allows, you may want to create a sheet of paper for each student to record his or her answers. Let other students add to the list of their answers.
Lesson: (Questions for students are in bold italics.) After the events surrounding the birth of Jesus the Bible doesn’t tell us any details of the childhood of Jesus until he is twelve years old. Read Luke 2:41-52. When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, what was He doing? What hint did it give of what he would do during His ministry? Jesus was already beginning to use this gift of teaching, that was later a huge part of His ministry.
Later when Jesus chose His apostles, someone watching might have wondered why He chose the men he did. Read Matthew 9:9, Mark 1:16-20, John 1:43-51. What were these apostles doing when Jesus called them? While we might not have chosen the same people, what could Jesus see in them? Jesus could see their hearts – he knew their potential and the gifts God had and would give them to help begin the church.
Read Matthew 5:16, James 2:14-17, Hebrews 10:24. The New Testament writers make it clear that God wants Christians to do what as part of their Christian like? Why are good works so important to God? We can’t earn our way into heaven with good works, but good works serve a few purposes. First they are an outward sign of our faith and gratefulness. Secondly, they help take care of some of the problems of living in a fallen world, like widows and orphans who have no one to take care of them.
Look back at Hebrews 13:16. Some good works don’t require any special talents or gifts. What good works can you think of that almost any Christian can do? Now look at Ephesians 2:10. What does it suggest about at least some food works? God has some specific food works that He prepares for us to do. Not only does He give us these opportunities to serve Him, but also He gives us what we need to do them.
Read Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27. What lessons do you think that Jesus wants us to learn form these parables? We tend to focus on the idea that God gives some people more fits than others. God never promised life on earth would be fair in human terms. What he does make clear in these parables is that everyone has at least one gift they can use to serve God. Jesus also makes it very clear that few are expected to use all of the gifts that God gives us to serve Him. What do you notice about the reward to those who used their gifts well? Some of them received additional gifts later – the gifts others had not used to serve God. So what kinds of gifts can God give us to serve Him? How do these gifts demonstrate God’s love for us and those we will serve with these gifts?
- I Timothy 6:17-19 material things – God gives us money, food, clothes and other things we can use to serve
- Exodus 31:2-6, Acts 9:36 talents- God gives us talents we can develop and use to serve.
- I Corinthians 12:4-7 spiritual gifts – these are special gifts given to Christians by the Holy Spirit. They are to be used to serve the “common good.”
- Read I Samuel 17:34-40. We often miss something very important in the story of David and Goliath because we don’t know a lot about shepherds. Shepherds who practiced throwing rocks with slings a lot could get so good that the rock was as accurate and deadly as a bullet from a gun. Was God with David? Absolutely, but before David was born God knew He would want David to kill Goliath. He gave David a talent for slinging and opportunities to practice and develop that skill. When God gave David the opportunity to fight Goliath, David not only trusted God but also had taken the talent God had given him and developed it so he was ready to serve God in this way. (He did the same thing with his lyre playing.)
Now that we understand we all have gifts God wants us to use to serve Him, lets sped some time discovering what they are and how to develop and use them.
Skills Activity: Review the main points of the lesson. Have the students complete the “Gift Identification Worksheet”. After students have completed the inventory have one or more adults available to meet with the students individually to interpret the results and fill out a “Gift Development and Use Plan”.Gift Development and Use Plan Gift Identification Worksheet
Around the room have several tables set up with several chairs around them. Each table should have an adult who uses one of their talents to serve God. Have the adult bring enough supplies for the students to experiment to see if they too may have this talent that they can develop and use to serve God. (Ex: cooking, art, woodworking, sewing, computers, organizing etc.) Encourage the adults to share ways they have used this gift to serve God.
Divide the students into small groups and have them rotate to every table – even if they “know” that a particular table will not be their talent. Have the students add insights to their “Gift Development and Use Plan.
Note: If your ministry serves teens in areas where they receive little career guidance, consider using adults who use their gifts as their career and to serve God.
Application Challenge: Read the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17 again. Look at the information on your “Gift Development and Use Plan”. Do at least one thing this week to develop your gift or use to serve God.Gift Development and Use Plan Gift Identification Worksheet
Author: Thereasa Winnett