The story of Ruth is a great example of how loyalty pays off in the long run.  Ruth gave up all she had because she was compassionate toward her older, poverty stricken friend – -her mother-in-law.  In this children’s church lesson, we discuss this story in more detail.  ( The teacher’s words are marked in bold type.)

Children’s Church Lesson: LOYALTY BROUGHT RUTH AN UNBELIEVABLE GIFT

Children’s Church Lesson Materials:
– pack of matches
– a pocket knife
– 5-pound bag of flour
– an old, worn out shoe

Let’s pretend we live in a land where there was a great famine. There is no electricity, very little food, and somehow, we have to stay alive. We have only one penny. But the country is so poor that anyone with even a dollar is considered very rich indeed. You could buy a whole house with a dollar. We have all the water we need, and we can catch food in the wilderness like the pioneers did. We have our choice of what we can buy with this penny. What should it be?

Put out a pack of matches, a pocket knife, a five-pound bag of flour, and an old discarded shoe without a mate.

What could we do with a pack of matches? We could light a fire and cook the meat. However, if someone knows how to rub two stones together, the matches would be unnecessary.

What could we do with a pocket knife? Kill animals to eat. Cut vines and wood to make a trap for trapping animals. You could cut open infected wounds and give a person a chance to live.

What could we do with a five-pound bag of flour? You could create instant food just by adding water, but the food might not last very long and then you’ve spent all your money.

What could we do with an old shoe? You could use it to walk farther to check your traps so your feet don’t wear out. However, there is only one. And it would only fit a few people who have feet that size.

Lay all the items on the table.

I want to show you how these items are like friends. A lot of people say that TRUE friends are hard to find. It’s like we live in a world with a “friend famine” going on because it’s so hard to find a friend like Ruth. Her sister-in-law Oprah wanted to be with more interesting people than Naomi, find a hot husband, hang with people her own age who were popular. Even though it looked like there was nothing in this for Ruth except for her love for Naomi, Ruth decided to be loyal.

Hold up the matches.

These matches are like some people. You’ve heard the expression, “Wow, he’s hot,” or “Wow, she’s hot.” That means they’re beautiful”¦or popular, and other hot people hang with them, and if you make friends with somebody because they’re hot, it can mean lots of fun. For a short time.

Light a match and hold it up with the flame lit.

The problem is that hot burns out really fast. Friendships made for popularity or other self-centered reasons tend to burn out quickly. Or easily”¦

Blow out the match with just a little breath.

Hold up the bag of flour.

Some people you could hang out with are like this bag of flour. There’s instant gratification in them. You can have your fun right away. Maybe”¦people have fat houses or “phat” trampolines in their back yards or a great big closet of computer games. Problem: No matter how good a toy is, you get tired of it. The fun goes away; then you’re on to someone else if you pick your friends that way.

Put the flour down.

Pick up the knife.

Now, some friends look really useful to you. They have what you’d call a “sharp tongue.” Nobody messes with them because they don’t want to be bullied or be made a fool of. If you hang with them, nobody will mess with you either. The problem with “sharp tongued” people is that at some point, that sharp tongue will turn on you. Guaranteed. Have you ever heard one friend gossip about another? Be assured: That person will gossip about you, too.

Lay down the knife.

Granted, we have all sorts of people we hang out with. There’s nothing wrong with being pretty, being popular, having lots of stuff–if God gives you those gifts, or having friends who are “sharp” enough to keep the bullies at bay. But in picking a true friend? It’s important to look very, very carefully.

Pick up the old shoe.

Don’t get carried away with people’s looks, people’s stuff, or people’s cool behavior. You have look beneath all of that. Look around it. Look through it. And look at the kids nobody else would notice. You just might find the good kid who will last.

Reach in the shoe and pull out a dollar. Hold it up.

In a world where only a dollar would make you very, very rich, you might find wealth in the strangest places. In a world where lifelong friends are difficult to find and difficult to keep, look where others might not and then be loyal. The paybacks can be surprising.

 

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