Main Point: If we chase money, we’ll still be disappointed at the end of our life. However, if our lives are devoted to God, we’ll have everything we need.
Discussion Starter: Making Mad Money
This discussion starter is a lot of fun, and just as entertaining for the crowd as the contestants. Basically, this up front activity gives students the opportunity to compete in weird ways to earn cold hard cash.
Select about 4 students and bring them up front. Give each of them five dollars in singles. Tell them that they can earn more in a moment by competing against their peers. At any point, they can bow out of the competition and keep their money.
You can have your competitors do any number of things in front of the crowd for cash prizes. Here are a few ideas:
$1: Sing Star Spangled Banner
$1: Eat Baby Food
$1: Face Painted by a Friend
$2: Eat Spam
$2: Leg wrestle
$2: Wear an “I Love Justin Bieber” shirt
Feel free to make this as gross as you want. In fact, the grosser, the better. Use our Sick and Twisted Games page to choose something for your group. The bottom line is that you want to clearly demonstrate that some people will do anything for money.
OK, we just had a lot of fun, and some of us even got a little messy. But you know what our little game proves? It proves that some of us are willing to chase after money, no matter what we have to do to get it. Who doesn’t love money? Who doesn’t want the things that it can buy? Millions and maybe billions of people have spent their lives chasing money. But in the end, their money lets them down. That’s because they’ve chased after the wrong thing in life. If we chase money, we’ll still be disappointed at the end of our life. However, if our lives are devoted to God, we’ll have everything we need.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether we’d have done any of those things for money.
- ASK A FEW: What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had, or the weirdest thing you’ve ever done for money, including dares?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think people desire money so much that they will do almost anything for it?
- ASK A FEW: Can you name 3 things in life that you’re chasing harder than money? If not, why?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think God thinks about our pursuit of money?
Read the following passage:
Luke 12:15-31 (NIV)
15 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.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” 22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
It’s been said that money makes the world go round. I’m pretty sure it’s gravity, but regardless, lots of people consider money to be VERY important. In fact, we had a little fun tonight proving that point. Lots of us chase after money, and after investing our whole life trying to procure it, we die…and it can’t save us.
If you want a few examples, all you have to do is turn to the lives of celebrities. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and even Elvis Presley are just a few of the names from yesteryear that spent their lives in pursuit of money and fame. In the end, all of them lost their lives. They spent their lives focused on things and people rather than God, and they paid a huge price for it.
But the high-profile destruction hasn’t ended with them. Recently, wealthy entertainers and athletes like DJ AM, Amy Winehouse, and Len Bias lost their lives to addictions. Having money was hugely important to these people, but in the end, all the money in the world couldn’t save them from themselves.
If I could have a “magic wand moment” with you, here’s what it would be. I would make sure you know that life isn’t about building a big bank account. It’s not about having it all. It’s not about having the most toys. There’s a saying, “Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.” I got news for you. Whoever dies with the most toys, still dies!!!
Listen guys. Our lives cannot look like the man’s life that we studied in the Bible. Our lives can’t be about having 6 laptops, 5 iPhone 4s, a dozen iPads, and a PlayStation 3 in every room. Our lives have to be spent chasing God, not money. Not stuff.
For some of us, that’s going to require a radical change. For some of us, it’s going to mean that we have to rethink our motive in lots of activity. For some of us, it’s going to require huge, sweeping transformation. And you know what? It will be worth it.
That’s because, in the end, if we’ve spent our lives chasing money, we’ll still be one of the poorest people in Hell. But if we passionately chase after God, our lives will be blessed beyond measure, both here, and in the life to come.
So, if you can look at your life right now and see that it’s all about getting money or getting stuff, and you want to make a change, the first thing you need to do is dedicate your life to following Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus died on a cross to pay our penalty of sin and selfishness. He died so that we don’t have to. This is the necessary first step. If you don’t get this one, nothing else matters. You cannot pursue God without loving His Son. In fact, you can’t even know God without knowing His Son.
If you need to talk about this more, I invite you to hang around for a little bit after we close in prayer. This is the most important thing you’ll ever do with your life.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.