Spotting Selfishness

Scripture: Luke 15:11-32

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn God wants us to repent of our sins.
  • Students will learn God forgives Christians when they repent of their sins.
  • Students will learn God expects us to willingly forgive those who repent.
  • Students will learn to distinguish between selfish and selfless actions while learning the importance of being selfless.

Guiding Question: How can selfishness lead us away from God while selflessness lead us closer to God?

Materials: Examples of people in the Bible who were selfish or selfless (examples given in procedure)

Procedure: Review the story of the Prodigal Son from the scriptures above. Explain that being selfish like the prodigal son requires repentance because selfishness can lead us away from God and cause us to sin. God will always forgive us if we repent to Him and truly mean it but we always have to ask for forgiveness. Explain that when you are selfless, you are putting God and others before yourself and God wants us to always try our best to be selfless.

Have the students play the selfish vs. selfless game. Give the students the name of a person in the Bible and something they said to did and the students have to say if it was selfish or selfless. Then add some real world examples students may encounter today and have the students once again say whether an action is selfish or selfless. When naming if an action is selfish or selfless, have the students explain why the selfless action is good or how the selfish action could be turned selfless.

Examples: Cain – jealous of brother Abel and killed Him, David – taking a wife from another man (Bathsheba), Pharisees – only cared about their power, Nabal – selfish and did not share His wealth to David and David’s servants, Haman – assumed King Xerxes wanted to honor him but Xerxes was talking about honoring Mordecai, Selfish men in the good Samaritan story – did not stop to help the man, Esther – willingness to go to the King about him killing the jews and risked her life, Job – had things taken from him yet still served God always, Abraham – willing to sacrifice his son to obey God, Moses – spent many years of his life dedicated to helping Israel, Elijah – prepared himself to give up what he needed in order to lead others back to God, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego continued to serve God at the threat of a fiery furnace

Additional Questions: How can selflessness and working together be beneficial?
Supplemental Activity: Split the students into four teams and give each team some pieces from a puzzle (use all pieces, divided up among the four teams. Students should not know that they all have pieces from the same puzzle). Tell the students that the first team to finish their puzzle wins! At first, students may not realize they need to work together to build the puzzle but should be able to quickly catch on.

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