Christians Under Construction – Week 14

Christians Under Construction is a series of devotions designed for family use each week focused on Christian stewardship. It was originally developed for a congregation stewardship series and intended as a weekly resource. I thought I’d republish here for those interested in using them. Here is week fourteen:

1 Corinthians 16:2 “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up.”

Bill Jr. and Mary were running wildly from game to game in the local Chuck E. Cheese pizza restaurant. They were attending a friend’s birthday party, but the real attraction was not the birthday cake, or the present opening, or even the large mouse that was going from table to table greeting the children. The real attraction was collecting enough tickets to trade in for a prize before they left.

Bill especially prided himself on selecting a particular toy he wanted, and then working hard at winning enough tickets to buy it. On they went, from the bowling game to “whacka-mole” to video games. The machines kept spitting out tickets and the kids kept stuffing them in their pockets. The only time either one of them came up for air was to ask mom or dad for more money to buy more game tokens.

When it was almost time to go and both of them had spent all their allotted tokens, they arrived at the table, stuffed down a piece of cold pizza and headed over to the prize counter. Mary had but a few tickets left, as she had used them up as soon as she won them. As a result, she had her pockets stuffed with small plastic trinkets – bracelets, necklaces, and toy rings.

“Hey Mary,” shouted Bill, “Why’d you do that? You’ve got only a few left! I decided to save mine up for something special.” As it turned out, Bill only had enough tickets for something slightly larger and a little less plastic than Mary. It could also be purchased at the local Wal-Mart for about half of the money mom and dad forked over for tokens, but Bill was happy.

God asks us to “save our tickets” as well. He said, “set aside a sum of money … saving it up.” It was hard for Bill to do that. Mary couldn’t. We find it hard sometimes too. There are just so many “prizes” we would like to buy. There are days we would like to just stuff our pockets full of them.

As usual, God’s command is best for us. We could ignore it and not save for Him, but in the end we will see how fruitless that is. We will have many things, but they are all temporary, not eternal. They are all made of cheap “plastic.”

God wants us to spend his money on the eternal. As the Bible says, “what moths and dust can’t destroy, and thieves can’t break in and steal.” We do that by setting aside our tickets and putting them in the offering plate. Remember what those tickets do. They buy things that will last into eternity. They fund the Builder’s Budget, and in that budget are things like the preaching and teaching of his word, the education of our children, and the promotion of the Gospel message to our community. In short it is used to give life, eternal life.

As you are thinking about what to do with your tickets – you know, the ones your heavenly father gave you money to buy – determine what you would like to purchase with them, plastic toys or perpetual joy. A joy that God gives through faith in Jesus Christ, spread with the help of the Builder’s Budget.

Discussion Questions: What was your favorite toy as a little boy or girl? If you were to try to sell it on Ebay today, what would it be worth? How much does eternal life cost? Can you afford it?

(Note to parents: You may want to review the facts of the story to reinforce the lesson.)

Family Reading: 1 Corinthians 16

Prayer: Father, thank you for all the tickets. You have been so gracious to us. Help us spend them wisely. Help us to keep our eye on eternal prizes, not worldly ones. Thank you for your grace, made most evident by the sacrifice of your son. We look forward to spending eternity with you. Amen.