Help students think about the choices they make and consider what the consequences of their choices may be, good or bad.
You can check out this WingClips video from the movie Pride in which a swimming coach (Terrence Howard) hands out a punishment to a team member who shows up late for practice—by making him sit outside the pool and watch his teammates swim all their punishment laps for him! [http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/pride/have-a-seat]
It would be painful for any swim-team member to backstroke and butterfly hundreds of laps as a consequence for a bad choice—but not nearly as painful as watching the rest of the team “do the dirty work” for the late-arriving member. This coach knows how to hand out consequences! Let that remind us of a truth we actually encounter every minute of every day—every choice we make carries consequences, good and/or bad.
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: Before we begin, everyone say you’re name and if you can swim the butterfly stroke.
- ASK A FEW: In the clip we just watched, how did you feel for all of those swim-team members, knowing that they’d have to swim all of those laps?
- ASK A FEW: How did you feel for the member who showed up late and caused the consequence to happen?
- ASK SOMEONE: For any one of you who’s willing, can you share about a time when you had to deal with a negative consequence because of a decision you made?
The Bible has a ton to say about consequences for our choices, both good and not so good. Let’s look at two passages about just that—what can happen when we make good choices, and what can happen when we make bad choices.
Read the following passage from the Bible:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Read the following passage from the Bible:
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
The choices we make always carry consequences. In this session we observed two accounts from the Bible. In the first account, the rich man chose to not give up his wealth, and he went away sad—very likely never again getting that close to following Jesus; in the second account, the Roman centurion chose to approach Jesus and express incredible faith—faith that actually amazed Jesus! The consequence of the centurion’s choice was that his servant was healed after Jesus made it be so just be uttering a few words.
Choices and consequences in life go much deeper than even these two passages proclaim. Think about it: Every single time you take an action, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, there is a consequence. When you open your eyes in the morning, you’re choosing to wake up, and the consequence is that your day has begun; when you put food in your mouth, you’re choosing to nourish yourself, and the consequence is that your body turns the food into fuel.
So let us not be like the swimmer we watched in the video clip who showed up late to practice, nor the rich man who went away sad from the presence of Jesus because he loved his wealth too much; instead let us make choices like the Roman centurion, who exhibited faith that far exceeded the people of Israel and literally amazed the Son of God. And let our consequences be greater faith and greater healing in our lives.
Close in Prayer
Written by Dave Urbanski
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.