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Sharing With Others

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SHARING WITH OTHERS 

Scripture: 1 Kings 17:8–16; Matthew 5:14–16, 42

Memory verse: Matthew 5:42
"Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

Lead—In

For this week’s object lesson, bring several candles and some matches to class. Make your classroom as dark as possible. Then introduce the lesson by sharing the following information.

A story was once told concerning one certain man. This man had a lot of possessions, but he also had a problem. He was very self–centred. He refused to share anything he had. He was afraid that if he did, he would have even less. He didn’t really care about his neighbours' needs. After all, he had his own needs to think of. He figured others could make their own way and take care of themselves.

Something else was interesting about the man. It seems he had never seen fire. (Light a candle as you continue speaking.)

One day this selfish person discovered a burning candle. It gave his hands warmth and made his food taste better when he cooked food over its flame. The candle lighted his room when night came. He enjoyed fire and knew it was very important.

This man’s neighbours also discovered some candles, but theirs were not burning. They brought their candles to the man to see if they could light them from his flame. But the selfish man would not allow that. After all, he had only one little flame. He thought if each man took some of his fire, he would have very little or none left. Instead of sharing, the man tried to think of ways to make his candle last longer. However, before long, his candle had burned down to a puddle of wax. It finally went out and everyone stood in darkness with unlighted candles.

After the story, blow out your candle. Ask the students to name some things the man didn’t understand about fire. Point out that fire does not get smaller when it is shared. In fact, he would have benefited if he had shared his fire with his neighbours. As you talk, relight your candle. Stress that the man would have had even more heat and light in his room if he had shared his fire and lighted the candles of his neighbours.

At this point give each student a candle. Allow each student to come and light his candle from yours. As they do so, explain that sharing what we have in life is much like sharing fire. We can give to others, but we have our needs met too. God will honour our generosity and cheerful giving. The students will learn more about how this can be as they listen to this week’s lesson.

Hearing God’s Word

(Refer to the Lesson Lead–In idea if you used it. Note how much brighter the room is with several lighted candles rather than just one lone candle. Then have the students blow out their candles as you turn on the lights.)

While the story about the old man is just a story, there are some people today who live just as he did. They live their lives believing that if they give things to others they will soon be in need themselves. But a Christian who is generous will not become needy because of it. The man in the previous story would have been better off had he known and practiced this week’s memory verse. (Repeat the verse together several times.)

A Widow Shares

The Bible speaks much about sharing what we have with others. It tells us about a widow who might have died had she not given away her last food. (Instruct the students to find 1 Kings 17:8–16 in their Bibles and scan the passage.) She was willing to share even if it took all the food she had. That took a lot of courage. She and her son could have starved to death. Some people probably thought she was crazy. But when Elijah came to her and asked for food, she trusted God and did what she knew she should do. She used the last of her flour and oil and made a cake for Elijah to eat, even before she made food for herself and her son. She fed Elijah, a stranger from a distant land, the last food she had.

If the widow had considered things logically, according to natural reason, following God’s instructions would have meant death for her and her son. After all, she had just enough food to make one more meal. Then they would die. But sometimes faith and logic don’t mix. God works in ways some people think are unusual. That is when serving God in faith becomes important. The widow was a woman of faith. She decided to trust God instead of doing what seemed logical.

Giving Isn’t Always Easy

If your mother ran out of bread, she could go to the store or market and buy some. So giving your last loaf of bread to someone probably wouldn’t be the same as what the widow did. She had no job, there was no money in the bank, and there was no government help for the needy. Her husband was dead, and if she had brothers or sisters they were also without food because there was a drought in the land. There had been no rain for several years. Food was scarce everywhere. The widow’s oil and meal really were the very last she could get—anywhere!

Then, to add to the problem, Elijah the prophet came on to the scene, asking her to share with him. It would be easy to say, “Try someone else,” or “Go to a wealthier part of town.” But the widow didn’t say those things. She decided to share, regardless of what might happen to her and her son. Her obedience and generosity allowed God to perform a miracle that saved their lives.

What miracle did God perform for the widow? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 17:16.) A person can never out-give God. Giving to others allows God to bless you in return.

Things We Can Give

Ask: “What can we give to others?” (Let your class name as many things as they can.)

Encourage them to think of nonmaterial things they can give also. This will be more difficult. Focus on such things as volunteering time and sharing the message of salvation.  (Turn to Matthew 5:14–16 and read it silently.)

Ask: “What valuable things can we all share?”  (Allow responses.)

The Bible mentions several groups of people to whom we should give. Widows and orphans are two of these groups. In New Testament times women were not allowed to be educated and often could not work to support themselves. They relied on their fathers for provision, and then on their husbands after they were married. Much of the time, when a woman’s husband died, she was left in extreme poverty. Although programs are now set up to help the needy, widows and orphans still need our love and help. It is also good to give to charities that help the poor and handicapped. But our first duty is to believers—fellow Christians.

The Bible says to give to those who ask. Does this mean we are to give someone everything he wants? No, it does not. We are to provide for needs, not wants. The Bible also says if a person is physically healthy, he should work to earn money for his own needs. But there will always be people who truly need help. All of us have things we can share with these people. Some of these things, such as being kind and friendly, do not cost money at all.

The most important thing we can give away is our faith in God. Faith will not get smaller as it is given away.

Attitude Is the Key

We now understand more about what we should give and to whom, but what about the how of giving? If we give away everything we have to provide food for the poor or even spend our entire lives working to help others, what more could God expect? The key word is attitude. Nothing we do will have eternal results unless we act with an attitude of love. If we give because we have to rather than because we want to, it does us little good in God’s sight. God looks for a willing attitude. Our attitude is more important than our gift.

Ask: “Who would be better off from God’s point of view — one who gave a lot of money to a worthy cause and announced it to all his friends, or one who gave a little money because he truly wanted to help someone?”  (Allow responses.)

Those who are interested in the admiration of friends will make their giving public; those who want God’s reward will give secretly.

God does not measure what you give against what someone else gives. God requires more money and talent from those who have more money and talent. We give as God has given to us. God expects you to give from whatever He has blessed you with.

Giving Brings Blessing

We are blessed when we give. That’s a spiritual principle. The widow who met Elijah received blessings in her earthly life. Many of life’s blessings, such as provision for our needs, healing, and help in troubled times may come as rewards for giving. We may not even see a direct connection between what we gave and the blessing God gives to reward us. It is God who provides the “seeds” (our possessions and abilities), and it is God who multiplies what we “sow” (give away) into an increase of “fruits” (blessings).

(Write on the chalkboard: seeds=possessions/abilities, sow=give, and fruits=blessings.) If we, like the widow, will give to those in need even when we have very little, God will receive glory and we will receive blessings.

Accepting God’s Word

Christians should be givers because God has shown the greatest example of giving. Explain how God gave His Son Jesus to us. Pray individually with each who would like to accept what God has given.

Appealing Alternative 

To a Moroccan Muslim, one of the most attractive aspects of becoming a follower of Christ is a personal relationship with Jesus, the Living God. Intimate fellowship with the Saviour, as opposed to a litany of works, puts vitality into one's faith. Adoption into the family of God as well as ensuing relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ presents them with an appealing alternative.

Beautiful Moroccan Arab people can find forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ, enter into a personal relationship with Him now and be assured of an eternal relationship after death. What a wonderful provision from the heart of a relational God!

REMEMBER TO PRAY!

Pray for Moroccan Arab Enlightenment

1. Discover that Jesus desires to have fellowship with them,
2. Adoption into the family of God is possible by accepting Jesus as their Saviour,
3. Truth about heaven and an eternal relationship with God personally presented to them by messengers and social media.

Prayer Promise

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:3).

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Study 9 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach

 

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