Friday, February 4, 2011


Below is a little lesson I developed for my children a while back.  My friend just reminded me of it and I thought I would post it here.  The topic?  Materialism.  The goal:  De-cluttering!

Compared to the rest of the world, do you think our family is rich or poor? [Rich.] There are many children in the world who go to bed hungry, have not enough clothing, and little or no shelter. They are not wishing for toys and video games, but about worried about being alive tomorrow and where they will find food.

We are also rich spiritually...we each have our own Bibles, we go to a church that is about to build a $33 million sanctuary, and we have had good teaching about the Bible. We can pray for more than just our daily needs, because our daily needs are already met.

What are our daily needs? [Food, clothing, shelter.] Who supplies our daily needs? [God.]

Matthew 6:20-24 - we shouldn’t be burdened by an abundance of things; God will provide our needs.Today, in America, most people, including us, have an abundance. We not only have clothing, but more than enough. We not only have food, but so much that we end up throwing away leftovers. We not only have shelter, but it is completely paid for and we have comfy furniture and can contemplate buying more of it.

Proverbs 25:27 - too much of a good thing (even honey), can be a bad thing.Our country has a spiritual disease in their world view. It is called "materialism." Materialism says, okay, my needs are met, now I want more! I have more than enough, but I still want more! How many storage facility buildings have we seen built in our neighborhood over the last 5 years? Many. People have more stuff than will fit into their homes!

This is a spiritual battle. Satan wants us to have lots of THINGS. Why? [Things distract us from God’s Word, His Work and from trusting in him.] Jesus said it would be harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to enter the eye of a needle. Why? Because a rich man begins to trust in his things more than trusting in God.

Things distract us because:

1. Busyness - we always have something we could do other than pray/read the Bible/good to others. We have games, and books, and toys, and video games, and other entertainments.

2. Maintenance - we have to dust it, get batteries for it, oil it, store it, look for it, put it away, etc. This takes time, money, and energy. 

Ecclesiastes 1:8 - all things are full of labor (maintenance)

3. Clutter - a cluttered room = a cluttered mind. It is hard to concentrate, when things are "calling me." And when there isn’t a clean spot to sit and think. 
4. Poor Health - when things can’t be kept clean, we can get sick. Dust = more asthma, sneezing, germs, etc.When we contemplate all our things, we have choices to make. We can:


Store (attic)

Throw Away


If we do this, we will be burdened by clutter, health, maintenance, and storage problems. Nothing will change. We have not helped anyone.
If we do this, we can save "treasures" for our (grand)children; things worth saving. Perhaps they can be used or sold later, good investment of storage space. (Recycling)
We can get rid of things that are broken and unusable as they really have no value. If things have sentimental value, we can take pictures before we throw away. This helps with clutter, health, maintenance, and storage issues.
Acts 2:45, the early church sold off their excess to help the poor. They did not use the money to buy more stuff.
If we do this, we can help other people who have little, to have enough. We make room for God to bless us. This helps with clutter, health, maintenance and storage issues.

*Hoard means: to store up or keep large quantities of (something), often in secret

In reality, how many watches does a person need? [1] How many backpacks? [1] How many necklaces? [a couple] How many piggy banks? [1]

What happens to things?

1 John 2:15-17 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.So, should we focus on things? [No.] Where should our focus be? [God, Bible, love others (2 great commands).]

John 10:37 - If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Did Jesus do the work of the Father? [Yes] What was that? [Heal the sick, preach the gospel, servant to others; love.] What does God want us to do regarding those less fortunate (poor, sick, hungry)? [Help them, give to them, feed them, pray for them.] Think about the sheep and the goats. They had a choice to make. Each were faced with people who were poor, hungry, cold, etc. What was the difference in their response? [Sheep helped; goats didn’t.] What happened to the sheep/goats? [Heaven/Hell.] Which would we rather be?

Let’s talk about some other people who did and didn’t.

Matthew 19:22

Acts 2:44-48
- And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 
- the rich young ruler went away sad because he had so much stuff – he didn’t want to choose between Jesus and his stuff. Because, what did he love more? [stuff]
Who pleased God? [early church] What did they do with their possessions? [sell, give away to those in need] What did the rich young ruler do with his possessions? [kept them, ignored Jesus]

Now, let’s talk about some principles about things and giving.

                    Luke 16:10 - he who is faithful with little, is faithful in much.

Faithfulness with our things means that we take good care of them, we keep them clean, and we don’t allow them to distract us from God and doing His work. I think we fail a bit in the clean and good care columns. We don’t often clean your rooms thoroughly, mostly because it takes so long because there are so many things to take care of. So, we just don’t.

1 Timothy 6:17 - Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.God gives us plenty and we can trust in Him to supply our needs and some of our wants. If we get rid of things, will He make it okay? Can we live without some things? What are we supposed to be rich in? [good works, not things.]

Matthew 6:19-20 - Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.What kind of treasures should we store up lots of? [heavenly, good works] What is wrong with earthly treasures [2nd law of thermodynamics, they decay!]

Luke 12:15-34
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knows that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
What happened to that man’s stuff? [descendants, rot] What happened to the man’s soul? [Heaven/Hell.]
What happens when we give?

Proverbs 13:7
There is that makes himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that makes himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Proverbs 22:9
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Proverbs 14:21
He that despises his neighbor sins: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Proverbs 28:27
He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.

Luke 6:38
- Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
- give to the poor
- happy
- blessed
- spiritual riches
What kinds of things should be first on our list to give (easiest)?

1 Corinthians 13:11 - When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.Things we have outgrown in age or size and can no longer use. Things that are broken should easily be thrown away.

If we want to save MEMORIES, the best way to do that is with pictures, not with tons of STUFF.
What do you think we are going to do now? [Clean! Throw away! Give Away!]

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