Downsizing God’s Way

Q: What in the world are writers of Sunday School lessons thinking?  I can tell you that many times they are not thinking kingdom thoughts as much as walking dangerously close to things that have nothing to do with the Gospel.  I say that because…

Recently a friend asked for some suggestions on how to teach a Sunday School lesson he had been assigned.  The topic had to do with downsizing in an economic recession.  From the information he gave me about the what writer of the lesson suggested be taught, I wrote the following to him in an email (With an edit here and there).

Glad to hear from you!  Hope all is well with you and your family.  As for your question… how Biblical do you want to be?  Let me explain… (I could be off on some of this). 

The first question that came to my mind was the motivation of the author of the lesson.  Sounds like it is more centered toward the person’s/family’s station in life than God’s Kingdom.  Sounds like he wrote it with the wrong thought in mind… the concept of the lesson you’re being asked to teach actually has a Joel Osteen flavor to it!  Let me explain a little more…

The life we live isn’t about us.  It is about God and His Kingdom.  It’s not about downsizing as much as it is giving away for God’s glory.  Three cases in point: 1) When Zacchaeus believed he gave away half of what he owned to the poor THEN paid back those he had stolen from above the amount he took.  2) When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus eventually told him to go sell ALL he had, give it to the poor, then follow.  3) When the early church heard of a need of people in the congregation, they sold their own property an possessions and gave the proceeds to those in needI guess you could say that is God’s way of downsizing… for His glory.

How do those things fit with the lesson plan the man wrote you are asked to deliver?  My guess… it doesn’t.  Which is more in line with what Christian do as a result of coming to faith in Christ… downsizing or giving?  If you REALLY want to talk about “Biblical Downsizing,” consider two more cases in point.  First… Jesus said he didn’t have a pillow for his head (Homeless).  Second… Paul said he if he had two things… food and clothing… he would be content.  Hmmm… how do those fit with what the man wrote that you are being asked to teach?

I would suggest doing the following IF and AS you are led by God’s Spirit:

Begin by askinig the rhetorical question: “How serious are we about following Christ and glorifying Him?” (Add: Actions speak louder than words!)  Ask someone to read 1 Corinthians 10:31 as the foundation for the rest of the lesson

Ask another rhetorical question: “How serious are we about laying up treasures in heaven rather than on earth?”  On second thought, it might be good to delve into this question for open discussion…

Then say something like… “Before we consider what the author of this lesson says about downsizing, I think it would be wise to take a look at Scripture to see the way Christians lived when they encountered Jesus in the New Testament.”  Then I’d ask the class to turn to the passages mentioned above:  Zach… Early Church having “garage sales” (Acts 2)… Rich Young Ruler.  Discuss each of them briefly.

Then I’d probably say that in your studies you came to the conclusion that the writer of the lesson missed the Gospel!  His mind and lesson had more of a Joel Osteen flavor than a Gospel flavor (If that is how YOU believe).

Then I would ask… and might let them answer… “Today are we like the Rich Young Ruler?”

Ask: How much junk do we have in our houses?  Just how many pairs of shoes… golf balls… bats & gloves do we NEED?  What would happen to us if God were to evaluate our walk with Him based on the stewardship with the resources He’s given us.  Are we living for now or eternity?  Are we accummluating treasures on earth or in heaven.  What would God have us do/be in light of the Scriptures we’ve considered today?

You are called to proclaim God’s truth… whatever it is!  You are called to expose error wherever you find it.  Don’t worry about your giftedness to teach.  Proclaim the Gospel and The Holy Spirit does the teaching/application.

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