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Posted by Daniel Maddry on



Bible: 1 John 2:16 (NLT)

Bottom Line: We should crave the things of God more than material possessions.


  • Timer


Students will play this elimination game as individuals.

There are no needed supplies for the game besides a timer that the leader will use throughout the game.


Say: I think we’re a pretty observant group of people, but we’re about to test ourselves to see if that’s true or not!

You will play this game as individuals; there are no teams.

When the game begins, I will put 20 seconds on this timer, which is not a very long amount of time.

I have a list of things that you will have to look for, find, and place your hand on before time is up.  For example, I might say, “a red shoelace.”


Only one person can touch each item, so you will want to be the first person to get to that item. 

For example, there might only be two red shoelaces in this room.

You want to be the first person to put your hand on it. 

If you are touching the item I called out at the end of the 20 seconds, you stay in the game.

I will need to take a look at each thing you’re touching, so stand still until I can verify that you are touching a legitimate item.

If you are still running around, trying to find something, or are the second person to reach for an item, then you are out of the game.

The last person left in the game is the winner!


  • Something shiny
  • Something that can be tied
  • Something with the letter “E”
  • Something that makes noise (other than people)
  • Something you can eat
  • Something you can stand on
  • Something expensive
  • Something that costs less than a dollar
  • Something you can carry
  • Something you can plug into the wall
  • Something blue
  • Something made of metal


Say: Until we started playing that game, some of us might not have realized how many “things” are in this room. 

But, when we started to look around, it became evident that there is a lot in here!

Say: Raise your hand if you have ever heard of the tv show, “Hoarders.”

There have been over 100 episodes of this reality show that features people who have accumulated so many things that they are no longer able to function in their own homes.

Typically, each episode begins with an intervention from a family member or friend who is concerned for the “hoarder’s” well-being. 

Unfortunately, as the show follows-up with people a few months or years down the road, many times, these people have fallen back into the same life patterns.

Hoarding is a disorder in which someone cannot control the desire to collect “things.”

The problem of “hoarding” is relatively new as we have become a society where even those who are not financially wealthy can still collect so much stuff that their lives are negatively impacted. 

Studies have shown that 6% of the American population can be considered hoarders.

That is over 19 million people!

If we are honest, most of us own more than we will ever need and use—even people your age.

Think about how many clothes you own or how many toys your siblings have.

The truth is that we have a lot of stuff!

So, how did we get to this point, and how does it become a problem for so many people?

Ask: Are you able to decide the difference between things that are a necessity and things that aren't? How do you choose?

Allow a few responses from students. 

Share how we can prioritize what we need and want in our own lives.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about our possessions…

Read 1 John 2:16.

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.

These are not from the Father but are from this world.

It takes a lot of self-control to say, “I have enough” of anything.

To “crave” something means that we have a strong desire that consumes our mind until we obtain whatever it is.

Ask: What are some things that people “crave”? 

Allow a few responses from students.

Those were great answers!

So, things like money, food, relationships… none of those are wrong until you crave them more than anything else, including God.

You might be thinking, “I would never want a new pair of jeans more than my relationship with God.” 

And maybe you won’t, but when obtaining something or being with someone becomes the most important thing in our lives, then we have allowed whatever it is to become greater than our desire for the things of God.

That’s why the Bible verse we read is so important.

John writes this letter to Christians because it was a real issue in 100 AD. It is still an issue today.

Why? Because we were born with a need to fill a void in our hearts and lives. 

What we don’t understand is that this void can only be filled by having a relationship with God.

Many people try to fill the void with anything they can get their hands on—money, cars, clothes—but God wants us to turn to Him to fulfill our earthly and spiritual desires.

Then, He will give us what we need.

When we have what we need, and we realize that those things have come from God, we can’t take the credit for what we possess. 

Everything belongs to God.  

When we realize that, it’s easier to give things away (give them back to God) or share them with others.

Materialism will consume our thoughts and actions if not kept in check.

Don’t misunderstand.

Things themselves aren’t bad, but when your life is focused on getting, loving, or buying things that are temporary, rather than gaining more wisdom or growing your walk with God, then you are focused on material things.

It is the focus that causes problems.

Challenge yourself to consider why you want things.

What's your motive?

What will having that thing do for you?

What void in your life are you trying to fill?

The more you seek after the things of God, the less you care about how much money you have or how many clothes, shoes, or cars you own.

Instead, your focus becomes, “What can I give to others?

How can I help other people?

What do I have to offer the world through my relationship with God?”

So… what is your focus?

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