Category | Object Lessons

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Are you using the gifts, talents, and skills God’s given you for the benefit of others, to make the world a better place, to shine out for Christ? Or are you just using them to benefit yourself or not using them at all and letting them go to waste?

What you Need

  • Paper Money – Not plastic notes as used in some countries, but linen/cotton paper notes. The amount of money used is up to you. The greater the amount, the greater the impact, but a single dollar will make the point.
  • A 50-50 alcohol solution – If you are using isopropyl alcohol you can usually find it in a variety of percentages of alcohol. It doesn’t have to be exact but needs to be close. You can mix 50 ml of water with 50 ml of 95-100% alcohol. With 70% alcohol solution use 70ml of alcohol and add another 30ml of distilled water. With 91% alcohol solution use 55ml of alcohol and 45 ml of distilled water.
  • Lit Candle in a candle holder
  • Metal Tongs
  • Bowl of water (Just in case you need to douse the fire)
  • Matches to light the candle
  • Dash of salt (to make the flame burn yellow)

Preparation

  1. Prepare the 50/50 alcohol and water solution.
  2. Add a pinch salt to help produce a yellow flame as alcohol tends to burn blue and makes a barely visible flame.
  3. When you light the paper money, the alcohol will burn but the paper will not. You can try with some ordinary paper first. If it burns you need to add more distilled water.

What to Do

  1. Place the money in the solution until it is completely soaked.
  2. Keep the matches candle, and bowl hidden until you need them.
  3. Say, “I am considering giving [Amount of money i.e. $50] to the youth who will give it to the most worthwhile cause.”
  4. Take the money from the solution, and discretely let the excess liquid drip off and then hold it up with the tongs.
  5. Ask each youth what they would honestly do with the money if you were to give it to them.
  6. While they answer place it back in the solution so it does not dry out completely.
  7. After all youth have answered respond: “You’ve given me some very good ideas on how I could spend this money, but instead think I will burn it. It is my money and I will do with it what I want!”
  8. Take out the candle and light it. (Sometimes the youth will blow out the candle!) Persist.
  9. Holding the monem with the tongs, move the damp money away from the alcohol-water solution.
  10. Then light the bill in the candle and hold it over the bowl until it burns out.
  11. After the youth have calmed down, ask them what makes this piece of paper worth something. The answer is that others will give something to you for it.
  12. Explain. “I know many of you felt frustrated that I would waste something that is so valuable to you, but think about how God must feel when we waste our lives. Sure, they are our lives to do with as we please, but you are valuable, too. God gave his Son’s life for you!”

Alternative Variation

  1. If you are concerned about the safety of the object lesson, you can do something similar with a lump of modelling clay.
  2. Explain: “This clay is mine but loan it to you for a while. You can do anything with it until I tell you time is up. Go!”
  3. Be sure to have one lump of clay reserved for yourself. Don’t do anything with it.
  4. After a predetermined length of time, call “Time’s Up” and let the youth explain their various creations.
  5. Talk about the amazing things that were done. Then explain that you didn’t do anything with yours.
  6. This lump of clay is like your life. God gave you this live to do whatever you wanted with it. You can choose to do nothing, make your life something that benefits others, or even make it one that hurts others. The choice is yours. But you were created with a purpose.

TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

 

MAKE IT SPIRITUAL

Read 1 Peter 4:10-11
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (NIV)

MAKE IT PRACTICAL

  • God gives you talents and He expects you to use them. Use them to serve others and to bring glory to God.
  • On a piece of paper, make a list of various talents, skills, and abilities found in the youth group or amonf friends or that you appreciate – one per line.
  • Then on the right side write some ways that God might be able to use those talents and skills to serve others and for his glory. Include ways in church and also outside the church.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

  • From the list, or from your head, think of one talent YOU have and consider how you can use it to serve others and bring glory to God this week.

Additional Scriptures

  • Psalm 139:13-18
  • Psalm 24:1
  • Matthew 25:14-30
  • Colossians 3:23-25
  • Romans 12:3-8

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MORE IDEAS? See “Creative Object Lessons”

200 page e-book that explains everything you need to know when planning your very own object lessons. It contains 90 fully developed object lesson ideas and another 200 object lesson starter ideas based on Biblical idioms and Names / Descriptions of God.

Learn More…

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