Prepare: You will need a trash can and a couple crumpled up sheets of paper. I would put the trash can somewhere away from the children, you will be throwing the crumpled paper into the (or at) the trash can, and it could be chaos if the trash is too close by.
Basketball is really fun! Let’s think about basketball for a minute. The basic idea is that you need to throw the ball through the hoop, right? Well I can’t really bring a basketball and a hoop into the church (Or maybe you can?!? Depends on where you worship!) but I did bring a trash can and a couple balls of paper. OK, here’s the thing about this – If I really want this paper to go into the trashcan, or a basketball to go through the hoop, I need to make sure that I throw it hard enough to get there, right? If I just barely throw it, like this, I know exactly where it’s going to go, but it’s nowhere near the trashcan. But, I’m afraid that if I really toss it far enough that I will miss! Then I will have to get up and go get it, which is a pain, so to be safe, I’m just not going to throw it. Sound good? (I hope that you get some encouragement to throw it here, but you may have to get them worked up a little) OK, but what if I miss? Should I worry about it? No? Ok, here goes!
(doesn’t matter if you make it)
Wow, that was much more fun than just dropping the paper!
This is kind of like the story we hear in the Gospel today. Three people were given some money. Two of them risked it, they spent the money on something that they hoped would make them even more money and it worked – kind of like me really tossing the paper. The third person was nervous and kept the money hidden so it would be safe. Well, the man who gave them the money was really happy with the two that invested or spent the money, because they did something wonderful with a gift he had given them, but he was really mad at the third guy because he hid the gift and didn’t do anything!
Now, we all know that when Jesus tells a story there is ALWAYS more going on than what it first seems. Jesus isn’t really talking about money, or about rich people and servants, Jesus is talking about us! Jesus is talking about gifts from God that make us all good at different things. Some of us are really good at figuring out problems, some are good at art or music, or running or caring for people – all kind of different things! Jesus is telling us to use our gifts to make the world better – we should invest our gifts and we will get good things back.
Prayer partners! Ask people to join together in groups of 2 or 3. These can be household groups or random groups. Somehow distribute these three questions (on a screen or in a worship bulletin or whatever works in you context).
- What gifts do you have?
- What do you risk if you invest in your gifts and use them?
- What do you risk if you hide your gifts?
Prayer partners should ask these questions our loud, but the answers can be silent (better if both people talk, but the important thing is hear the questions so that everyone thinks about them).
After all three questions have been asked (and answered) then invite the partners to pray with each other.
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