1 Timothy 6: 17 – 19
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
It is important that our children know that everyone at the church, young children, teens and even parents are always learning more about the church and about God. One way to develop this insight is an All Parish Education time. Today’s topic continues our look at stewardship, ministries and a healthy parish.
By the end of today’s session the participants will
- Learn about biblical teachings regarding our responsibility towards those in need
- Contrast our lives to those living in poverty.
- Gain understanding about the possibilities available to us for doing mission work in the Orthodox Church
Listed below are the leaders for each educational level, discussion questions and groupings to be used for this activity. Tonight’s procedure will differ from the past in that the actual lessons will be much shorter. This will allow time to come back together to watch the video on Project Mexico (20 minutes) and a brief slide show about St. Mary’s Food Kitchen and Project Ethiopia. Also, information on IOCC and OCMC will be available.
There need not be as much emphasis this time on reporting back, although it would be good to hear the younger children give their responses to the pre-scripted questions, either individually or with pictures and drawings. Different groups have different questions to discuss. We encourage parents to further discuss the findings of their children’s group and to compare them to the dialogue in their section.
NOTE: The age groupings are approximate, depending on who is present.
(Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2) Facilitator: _____
First, give the children time to do the activity on the handout labeled “My Home and Family” from the Project Mexico curriculum book (page 14). Process their drawings by asking them the questions on page 14. Then, give each student an opportunity to respond to the following questions:
- What does it mean to be poor?
- How do people become poor?
- How do you think someone would feel when they are given a new home that keeps out the rain and cold, has a real floor, a door that locks, and two rooms instead of one?
- What kinds of things can we do to help the poor?
(Grades 3 – 7) Facilitator: _______
Give students time to fill in the “Personal Worksheet: My Home and Family” (p. 36 of the Project Mexico curriculum. Then, give each student an opportunity to respond to the following questions:
- What does it mean to be poor? What is poverty?
- Describe the daily existence of someone who is living in poverty.
- How do people become poor?
- How would it change your life to be given a new home if you were homeless, even though it is a very simple structure?
- What kinds of things can we do in our own community to take care of our neighbors who need help?
(High School, Young Adults, Adults & Seniors) Facilitators: ________ [Divide by age or by choice if needed.]
Focus: What does it mean to be poor?
- What is a definition of poverty?
- What are the root causes of poverty? How do people become poor and homeless?
- Here is the text from the Crowning Service of the Sacrament of Marriage:
“Do Thou, the same all-holy Master, accept the prayers of your servants. As Thou were present there, be Thou also present here, with Your invisible protection. Bless this marriage, and grant to these Your servants, ____ and ______, a peaceful and long life, chastity, mutual love in the bond of peace, long-lived offspring, gratitude from their children, a crown of glory that does not fade away. Graciously grant that they may see their children’s children. Preserve their bed undefiled, and give them of the dew of heaven from on high, and of the fruitfulness of the earth. Fill their houses with wheat, wine and oil and with every good thing, so that they may give in turn to those in need; and grant also to those here present with them all their petitions which are for their salvation.”
Why, among all the blessings do you think that giving to those in need is included in this petition? How is giving to the poor a blessing?
- In Matthew 26: 11, Jesus says,
“The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”
Discuss what He means by this. Does this statement from Our Lord in any way reduce our responsibility to the poor?
- If Orthodox Christian Evangelism takes place most powerfully through our own example, then to what does my life bear witness by its example? Think about what impressions other people would have about my goals and priorities, my faith and my relationship with Christ? [Consider this individually.]
- If a spirit of peace will help save thousands of people, in what areas of my life is a spirit of peace lacking? What are some concrete ways that I can engage in sharing by example the good news of Jesus Christ in my community and with the world? [Again, this is an individual consideration.]
Note: The last two questions above are from the DEC Mini-Unit: “Sharing the Good News – Orthodox Christian Missions”
NOTE: After introductory discussion using the questions above, utilize as many of the following verses to generate further discussion on our responsibility to the poor as seen biblically:
Deuteronomy 15: 7 – 8
7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.
1 Samuel 2; 7 – 9
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
Psalm 22: 26 – 27
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
Psalm 113: 7 – 8
7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
Proverbs 21: 13
13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.
Matthew 19: 21
21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
1 Corinthians 13: 2 – 4
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.