Rich or Poor?

Pentecost Proper 21; 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Reference: Luke 16:19-31 and 1 Tim. 6:10

From “Scolding the Snakes”  

Bassano's Lazarus

Bassano’s Lazarus

Preparation: If you feel comfortable doing so, bring two dolls to serve as Lazarus and the rich man, and practice moving them like puppets as you retell Jesus’ parable. It would be good to practice several times before presenting the story.

How many of you would like to be really rich when you grow up? Can you tell me why? (Children can respond.) How many of you would not mind being poor? Raise your hands. The Gospel for this morning was a story Jesus told about a poor man named Lazarus and a rich man. (Hold up the two dolls.) We’ll pretend that this doll is the rich man and this doll is the poor man, and I’ll tell the story in a modern setting.

(As you tell the following story, move the dolls to “act out” the things you describe.) There was a rich man who loved to shop at the mall, and he always looked very spiffy. He spent lots of money on himself. He had a huge house and a four-car garage all to himself. At his gate, lying in the street, was a poor, sick, and very thin man named Lazarus. The poor man just wanted a few scraps of leftovers from the rich man’s table, but the rich man wouldn’t give him anything. Soon poor Lazarus died, and he was carried to heaven by angels to be with God. The rich man died, too, and he went to hell, where he was not at all happy.

It was a sad ending for the rich man but a happy ending for the poor man. Do you think Jesus wants us to think it’s bad to be rich? (Let children answer.) Some people think the Bible says that money is the root of all evil, but it doesn’t say that. It says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It is hard to love God if riches are very, very important to you, because the money and things you can buy take up so much of your love. Can you take your toys or clothes or cars with you to heaven? (Kids respond.) In the end, those things aren’t very important, are they? It’s more important to be with God.

So how could you be rich and serve God at the same time? (Children may answer.) You can serve God by using your money for doing good in the world. You can share your food and toys with others. You can give much of the money that you make back to God. All good gifts come from God. When we bring our offerings to church, we’re giving back to God a small part of what already belongs to God.

Prayer:  All good things come from you, heavenly Father. Help us to share the good things we have with others and to give them back to you.

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