Tool, Test or Territory


Time
30 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches that God uses the people and the events in our lives as TOOLS (to shape us), TESTS (to help us see the condition of our hearts) or opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him (to give us greater impact for His Kingdom). It focuses on the events in the life of Joseph, and it assumes that the children are familiar with the story. (If they aren’t, you may want to read it or give them the highlights before doing this activity.)

Materials

  • Optionally – a flip chart or whiteboard and markers (if you want to write the answers to the questions so that the children can see them)
  • A sheet of blank paper for every child.
  • Colored markers.

Preparation
Create “TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY” signs for each of the kids in your class. (You can also have the kids do this in class.)
• Take a normal sized sheet of paper, and fold it into thirds (It doesn’t matter if you start with the paper in either landscape or portrait orientation. Both will work.)
• Unfold the paper, and write one of each of the following words in each of the three panes you have created on the paper: TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY.
• Fold the paper so that it makes a triangle with the three words on the outside.
• Tape the edge of the triangle so that it will maintain its shape.
• Distribute these to the kids when they arrive.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “In our lives, we will have many experiences, and we will meet and get to know many people.”
• “I don’t believe that any of these experiences or people are in our lives on accident. God has a purpose for each one.”
• “How do you feel about that?” (Take responses.)
• “I believe that God uses these experiences and people in one of three ways:
o As TOOLS to shape us so that we look more like Him
o As TESTS to help us see the condition of our hearts
o As opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him. This means that God gives us more responsibility to do His work here on earth. It’s like a promotion.”
• “Can you think of some times that God has used people and experiences in your life as TOOLS? What did that look like?” (Take responses.)
• “How about some TESTS God has given you?” (Take responses.)
• “How about opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him?” (Take responses.)
• “When we start to realize that God uses everything in our lives for a purpose, it should change how we respond to what happens, shouldn’t it? How do you think we should respond?” (Take responses.)
• “I would like to take a look at the life of Joseph in the Bible and see if we can find some TOOLS, TESTS and TERRITORIES.”
• “I’m going to read a statement about Joseph’s life, and I want you to hold up your TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY triangles to show me which of the three you think the event represents.”
• “If you think it represents more than one of the three answers, flip your triangles back and forth like this.” (Demonstrate.)
• (Read the following statements. The answers are in bold and parentheses.)

o “God gave Joseph a dream to show him he would one day rule over his brothers and his parents.” (TOOL & TEST – Joseph didn’t receive the TERRITORY yet, but God gave him a sneak peak at it to see how he would respond (with pride, unfortunately) and to give Joseph a hope that would shape his decisions for years to come.)

o “Joseph’s father sent him to check on his brothers, who were supposed to be shepherding the flock.” (TEST – This was a test of obedience and determination, since Joseph’s brothers were not where they were supposed to be.)

o “Joseph’s brothers hated him and made fun of him.” (TOOL – Some of the tools God uses to shape us are not very enjoyable. God used the brothers’ hatred and mistreatment of Joseph to make him stronger for the difficult times ahead.)

o “Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.” (TEST – God tested Joseph by taking away everything he had and allowing him to become a slave. How Joseph responded showed the condition of his heart.)

o “Joseph worked as a slave in Potiphar’s house.” (TOOL, TEST & TERRITORY – Being a slave is no easy assignment. Joseph had to get rid of his pride and do whatever he was asked to do. Even though he knew he would one day rule over many, he had to start as a servant. It was here that God shaped Joseph into a servant leader with incredible administrative and management skills. And it was here that God gave Joseph more TERRITORY. Whenever God puts you into a new place, He expects you to claim it for His Kingdom and to act accordingly.)

o “Joseph was promoted to be Potiphar’s chief servant.” (TOOL & TERRITORY – God gave Joseph even more TERRITORY by making him the leader of al the servants in Potiphar’s house, and God used this time to shape Joseph’s ability to lead at a high level.)

o “Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to kiss her.” (TEST – You can bet that Potiphar’s wife was really pretty. God TESTED Joseph to see if he would show integrity and faithfulness.)

o “Joseph was thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit.” (TEST, TOOL & TERRITORY – God allowed Joseph to be punished for a crime he didn’t commit to TEST whether Joseph would continue to trust Him even when He didn’t seem to make sense. The prison was new TERRITORY for Joseph to claim for God’s Kingdom, and his time there shaped him into a more humble leader and administrator.)

o “Joseph was promoted to oversee the other prisoners.” (TOOL & TERRITORY – Joseph was given more responsibility – that’s TERRITORY – a promotion with more responsibility. God gave Joseph more practice at leading during this time.)

o “The chief baker forgot about Joseph.” (TEST – Would Joseph continue to trust God even when he faced such a big disappointment?)

o “Joseph had to stay in prison for two more years.” (TOOL – Joseph wasn’t ready for the giant leadership role God had in mind for him, so God continued to shape him during these difficult times.)

o “Pharaoh told Joseph that he heard about Joseph’s power to interpret dreams.” (TEST – Would Joseph try to take the credit for what God enabled him to do?)

o “Joseph was promoted to rule over Egypt.” (TERRITORY – Joseph had been faithful with small things; now God gave him larger things!)

o “Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain from Pharaoh.” (TEST – After all these years of suffering, how would Joseph react toward those who had sold him into slavery? Would he be able to forgive them?)

o “Joseph’s family came to Egypt.” (TERRITORY – The prophetic dreams finally came true! Joseph now ruled over his entire family in addition to the land of Egypt.)

• “Can you see how God uses TOOLS, TESTS and TERRITORY to help us accomplish great things for Him?”
• “Next time something weird or frustrating or scary happens to you, ask God, ‘Is this a TOOL, a TEST or new TERRITORY?’ and ‘How do you want me to respond?’”

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Filed under Christianity, God's Will, heart, Joseph, Obedience, Object Lesson, territory, test, tool, Trust

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