A Fool and His Money
Jesus warned us to beware of selfishness and greed.
Three shoe boxes or paper bags numbered 1, 2, and 3. You will also need a small treat and a "nice" prize. Box #2 will contain the prize. The prize need not be expensive, but should be something a child would be pleased to have -- such as a toy or a treat of some kind. Choose a child ahead of time to assist you and explain to the child how the game will be played and instruct the child to always be willing to trade what he has for the chance to win the prize. Assure the child that he will receive a reward for being your helper.
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15 (NIV)
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Do you like to watch game shows on television? I have always been a big fan of TV game shows. One of my favorite game shows of all time was a show called "Let's Make a Deal." On that show, contestants would be given a chance to trade a prize that they had already won for a prize that was hidden behind curtain #1, #2, or #3. Sometimes they would win a great prize, but sometimes they would end up with a worthless prize. Let's play the game so you will see how it works.
To begin the game, I have a prize for someone. I have a prize for someone who made their bed this morning. Did anyone here make their bed this morning? Oh great! Here is a prize for you. (Give a treat to the child you have chosen ahead of time.) Now, I have a deal for you. You can keep the treat I have given you, or you can trade it for what is in box #1. Before you make your decision, I will tell you that one of these boxes has a nice prize. The other two do not. Do you want to trade? You do? Great, give me back the treat.
First, let's see what is in box #3. (Open box #3 to show a gag prize.) Now we know that the prize is in box #1 or box #2. You have what is in box #1, right? I have another deal for you. You can keep what is in box #1, or you can trade it for what is in box #2. Do you want to trade for box #2? You do? Great! You now have what is in box #2. First, let's see what is in box #1. (Open box #1 to reveal another gag prize.) Great! You have won the prize! (Open box #2 and give the child the prize.)
That turned out quite well, didn't it? Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way in real life. Sometimes people go through life making deals and trying to build up more and more wealth. They think that the more money and possessions they have, the happier they will be.
Jesus warned about that. He said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." He then told the story of a man whose land had produced so much grain that he had no place to store it. Even though he had plenty, he wanted more, so he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. Jesus said the man was a fool, for when his life was over, he would leave everything behind. He would leave this world with nothing.
Life is not a TV game show and God doesn't make deals. God has promised to supply all of our needs, but He has not promised to fulfill every selfish wish. "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed."
Dear Father, help us to be content with the blessings which you so generously give us and help us to be on guard against selfishness and greed. Amen.