Tag Archives: Sunday school

Love God, Love Other People

Jesus declared that to love God is the greatest commandment, followed by love for others. He stated that all of the laws stem from these two commands. Jesus led by example. For instance: he left his throne to pay our debts; he was born into a stable instead of a palace; he had no place to lay his head; he healed the sick; fed the hungry; and he washed his disciples’ feet.

Compare this to our current world situation where the richest countries, (the USA being the richest and most powerful), own 80 times the wealth of the poorest countries. Within the United States of America, the richest 20% possess 85% of the wealth, and the poorest 40% possess 0.3% of the wealth.1

Jesus told a rich man to sell all his possessions and give them all to the poor, then follow him. He talked of the rich fool who hoarded wealth without looking after the needs of others. Jesus said the first would be last and the last would be first. He talked of sheep who helped their neighbors and were put on the blessed side, and goats who were oblivious to those in need and were put on the side of judgment. Jesus commended the Good Samaritan who helped the person in need along his journey and told others to go and do likewise. Jesus talked of a complacent rich man who ignored Lazarus during his life, a rich man who later suffered while Lazarus sat by Abraham’s side.

Contrast Jesus’ words to the situation in the U.S.A where the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of Black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households.2

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring”. MLK3
Monopoly is a fun game to play. Fun, that is, until you start to lose everything. This is inevitable for all but one player. Suppose the person to whom you were paying $2,000, for landing on Board Walk with a hotel, right after paying her $1,150 for landing on Ventnor Ave with a hotel, said she felt charitable and gave you $5? Now suppose that same person gave herself 10 times more money than anyone else, along with a few properties and hotels thrown in at the beginning of the game? You may not feel grateful.

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, ‘This is not just.’” MLK4

Bangladesh has the lowest minimum wage in the world at 21¢/hr.5 There have been at least four tragedies due to unsafe working conditions in the last two years. Factories have very inhumane working conditions. Yet it is the third largest exporter of garments to the U.S.6 Meanwhile, the Ford plant in St. Paul, MN, which has been in operation for almost a century, employing 1,800 hourly workers in 2006, closed it’s doors this summer.7 Those jobs have gone to countries where workers are paid far less. Exploitation of people for the love of money abounds. Our world tells us to love financial gain over people. However, Jesus called the love of money the root of all evil.

Are there areas where our life styles contradict the very teachings of the God we profess to follow? If so, how can we change to live more like Jesus and bring his whole gospel to the world? 8

“God yearns to interact with young people, and he is in the business of using them to do incredible things in the world.” Efrem Smith

Our youth groups have great potential to be God’s agents to bring the whole gospel to the world! Isaiah 6:8 – “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” NIV

I am offering classes, geared to youth, on God’s call to bring his love to the world by not only preaching the Good News, but also by loving our neighbors as ourselves through our actions.

The sessions will be split into an active game, followed by an interactive teaching which includes a variety of stimulus to keep youth involved and interested. At the end of the class we will work on projects that impact our world. Youth have many good ideas and lots of energy. Therefor, their ideas, talents and involvement are of great value to furthering God’s kingdom. Networking with other groups and sharing ideas will be encouraged after the sessions.

Saved by grace through Jesus Christ, we are empowered to make a great impact on our world.

Class Information:

• These sessions are appropriate for youth groups, retreats and Sunday school classes. Four hours are recommended, but the number of days we meet is flexible.
• Classes are free, though materials, such as Fair Trade T-shirts, which we make for the youth group/VBS, need to be purchased.
• Contact me to discuss your thoughts.Bibliography

1Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely, Building a Better America-One Wealth Quintile at a Time, Perspectives on Psychological Science 2011 6:9.

2Rakesh Kochhar, Richard Fry and Paul Taylor, Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends 26 July 2011.

3Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam-A Time To Break Silence, Riverside Church, New York City, 4 April 1967.

4Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam-A Time To Break Silence, Riverside Church, New York City, 4 April 1967.

5Bangladesh Garment Wages the Lowest in the World-Comparative Garment Worker Wages, Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights
19 Aug. 2010.

6Bangladesh Garment Wages the Lowest in the World-Comparative Garment Worker Wages, Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights
19 Aug. 2010.

7”St. Paul: The Ford Site: Think Jobs for the Long Term”, Pioneer Press 11 June 2013.

8Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010)