This object lesson helps children understand that Christians are more powerful when they work together and show love for one another. It’s important that we don’t quarrel with one another and destroy the unity that shows the world we are Jesus’ disciples.
· Two bills of paper currency (use the same denomination for both)
· Tear one of the bills of currency in half, and conceal it until the end of the lesson.
· Leave the other bill intact so that you can use it for demonstration.
· Practice script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Does anyone remember the story of Joseph from the Bible?” (Allow a volunteer to share what he/she knows about the story, and add in anything that he/she misses.)
- “Joseph was one of Jacob’s twelve sons and his father’s favorite child. His brothers hated that he was the favorite so much that they sold him into slavery. For several years, he was a slave in Egypt until he was thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After many years of life in a dungeon, he was released and given the second-highest position in Pharoah’s kingdom because of his wisdom and ability to interpret dreams. Then, during a terrible, seven-year drought, his brothers came to Egypt looking for food. Joseph forgave them, and the family was reunited.”
- “Our lesson is about Joseph’s advice to his brothers when they were going back to get their father and other family members to come live in Egypt.”
- Have volunteer read Genesis 45:16-24. (The NIV translation’s final verse includes the quote, “…don’t quarrel on the way.”)
- “Why do you think Joseph told them not to quarrel?” (Listen to responses.)
- “I bet Joseph knew something about his brothers from the time they were growing up together.”
- “He knew about their tendency to fight with each other, so he was telling them to try to get along on the way back to get their father.”
- “He wanted them to have unity – to be a strong family.”
- “What’s so important about unity?” (Listen to responses, and add in any that you can think of that aren’t mentioned.)
- “Exactly! I can think of another reason, too, but I’m going to need two volunteers to help me demonstrate it.” (Ask for two volunteers to come up front.)
- “I have this bill of paper money.” (Show bill.)
- “And I would like for both of you to have it!” (Tear bill in half, and give one half to each of them.)
- “Congratulations! Don’t spend it all in one spot!….Wait, is something wrong?” (Allow volunteers to respond.)
- “You mean you can’t spend these anymore? What’s wrong? I only had the one bill, but there were two of you and I had to split it.” (Allow responses.)
- “So, you’re telling me that you can only spend this if these two parts are together?” (Allow responses.)
- “Hmmm….seems like there might be a lesson in here somewhere. Can anyone help me figure out what the point of this demonstration is?” (Allow for responses and add you own explanation if necessary.)
- “The two pieces of the bill are more powerful and effective together than apart. In the same way, Christians are more powerful and effective when we work together.” (Take back the two pieces of the bill. Then thank and dismiss the volunteers.)
- “Do you think Christians work well together today in the Church?…..Why or why not?” (Allow for responses. If you need to, point out some examples of how Christians work well together and what happens when they do. You might also want to point out how many different denominations we have and how little they collaborate with each other most of the time.)
- “What do you think would happen if Christians were better at working together?” (Allow for responses.)
- “I started this lesson by reminding you of the story of Joseph.”
- “I think that Joseph from the Bible is a picture of Jesus. God allowed Joseph’s life to reflect what Jesus’ life would be like so that people in Old Testament times would know what to look for in the coming Savior.”
- “There are many similarities between Joseph and Jesus:
- Both would have called themselves shepherds.
- Both were their fathers’ favorite children.
- Both were sold for some coins.
- Both were accused of crimes they didn’t commit.
- Both were put into the earth.
- Both came out of the earth to be elevated to the second-highest position in their respective kingdoms.
- Both suffered so that they could save many.”
- “If you study Joseph’s story, I bet you can find even more similarities.”
- “I tell you those things to point out that when Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel, it was very similar to some discussions Jesus had with his twelve apostles.”
- “They were always arguing about who was the greatest, but Jesus wanted them to have unity.” (Have volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
- “Jesus said that everyone in the world would know that we are following Him by the love that we show to one another.”
- “That means that our unity as Christians is a very powerful way to help the people around us know about Jesus.”
- “How can we show our love and unity to other Christians around us?” (Listen to responses, and comment as appropriate.)
- “Those are some excellent ideas! I hope every one of you will commit to showing more love to your Christian brothers and sisters this week.”
- “Just remember, we are more powerful together than apart.” (Call your original two volunteers back up, and give one of them the two pieces of the bill you used for demonstration and some tape. Give the other the two pieces of the other bill you kept concealed and some tape. Let them both tape up the bills and keep the money as a reminder that we are more powerful together than apart.