This game helps participants to understand that not all good works have the same value in God’s eyes. Good things done with bad or selfish motives are not worth nearly as much as those done for the right reasons. The game teaches about Paul’s writing about the believers’ judgment (aka “the Bema Judgment”), where our works will be tested.
- Printouts of the file “Works Test – Cards” (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.)
- Glue or clear tape
- Prize(s) for winner(s) – Optional
- Cut out the Works Test cards. There are three per page, and they each have two sides – a “Motive” side and a “Good Work” side.
- Fold the cards over so that the “Good Work” shows on one side and the “Motive” shows on the other.
- Glue or tape the two sides together.
- When they are dry (if you used glue), turn all the cards so that the “Good Work” side is facing up.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “A teacher named Paul told us about the judgment for believers that will happen when Jesus comes back.”
- “This judgment is just for rewards; there won’t be any punishments.” (Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.)
- “The foundation he talks about is Jesus and the Truth that He is our Lord and Savior.”
- “This foundation is very important. If you don’t have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then it won’t matter how many good things you do. There won’t be any rewards for you when Jesus comes back – only punishments.”
- “But, if you have Jesus as your foundation, then the good things you do start to earn you treasures in heaven.”
- “So, Paul is saying in this Scripture that when we do good works, we are building on the foundation of Jesus and the Truth that He is Lord and Savior.”
- “When we stand before Jesus at the judgment for believers, He will test our works with fire. Good works done for good reasons (‘gold, silver and costly stones’) will survive the fire and we will be rewarded for them. But bad works or good works done for the wrong reasons will burn up like wood, hay or straw do when they catch on fire.”
- “Let’s play a game that teaches us about this.”
- “To play this game, you need to know that ‘good works’ are things that we do that have good results and that ‘motives’ are the reasons we do the things we do.” \
- Shuffle the cards thoroughly, and make sure that all the “Good Work” sides are facing up.
- Deal the cards so that each person gets 10.
- Instruct participants not to turn the cards over but to arrange them in two rows of five in front of them.
- Beginning with the youngest person in the group, have each person read ONE of their cards “Good Works” out loud and then turn the card over.
- Have the person read the “Motive” on the other side out loud.
- If the “Motive” has a picture of a pot of gold, bars of silver or a costly stone, the person gets to keep it.
- If the “Motive” has a picture of firewood, a bale of hay or a straw broom, the person has to “burn it” by putting it into the center of the group.
- Go around the group three to five times depending on how much time you have.
- Then, award points – 3 points for any “Gold” motives, 2 points for any “Silver” motives and 1 point for any “Costly Stone” motives.
- The person with the most points wins the game.
- You can then turn over all the other cards if you want to.
- Award a prize to the winner if you want to.
- After the game is finished, discuss the Debrief questions below.
- You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main point of the lesson.
- Why do you think your motive is important to God?
- What do you think you need to do to earn gold, silver or costly stones in heaven?
- What will you do differently now that you know about how to earn treasures in heaven?
When my motive is good,
I don’t make straw, hay or wood!
This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?” The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume. However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works. God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.
- Genesis 37-50
- Isaiah 64:5-6
- Isaiah 61:10
- Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off. You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
- One plain white smock (to start the story)
- One “coat of many colors”
- Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
- One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
- Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
- One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
- One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
- One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
- Gold chains costume jewelry
- Ring costume jewelry
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
- “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
- “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
- “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
- “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.” (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
- “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
- “Look closely at him. I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
- “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
- “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
- “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.” (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
- “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses. Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
- “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
- “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
- “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
- “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
- “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
- “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.” (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
- “What do you think now? Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar. There, he was given the clothes of a servant.” (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
- “Same Joseph or different?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.” (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
- “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened! Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.” (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
- “Do these clothes make him someone different?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
- “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
- “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
- “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.” (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
- “Has he changed?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt. Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
- “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.” (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
- “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
- “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
- “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.” (Show all eight smocks.)
- “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
- “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
- “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
- “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
- “But you know what? No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
- “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
- “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.” (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
- “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
- “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
- “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
- “He had to do that because we sin.”
- “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
- “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death. That means separation from God.”
- “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
- “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
- “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins. Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
- “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you. It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
- “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
- “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!” (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
- “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
- “The first is that He clothed us with salvation. In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
- “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness. In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.” (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
- “Now THIS impresses God!”
- “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
- “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
- “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
- “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
- “You can’t earn it. You can only accept it.”
- “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
- “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?” (Show the golden smock.)
- “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you. He really wants you to have it!” (Thank and dismiss volunteer. At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)
Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Belief, Character, Christianity, Eternity, faith, Jesus, Joseph, Object Lesson, Performance, salvation, sanctification, Transformation