The fourth week of Middle School Youth brought the topic of selfishness.

The Dot Game

While humans know that we’re basically self-centered creatures, we tend to view ourselves more highly than we really are. In order to illustrate to the students that they really are self-centered, ungrateful people, we played a game. The game was the Dot game in which two people (or more) play against one another in an effort to “close” the most squares. The person with the most squares wins the game.

I played on my own team and the other team was all the students. Each time a student came up to connect a dot (draw a line) they got a piece of candy. I intentionally and obviously made room and an effort to allow each participant to say thank you. No one did. I ended up losing the game, but the illustration held (but they didn’t know it yet).


Ten Lepers

The Bible story was about the ten lepers who were cleansed and one returned to give praise to God and to say thanks. I asked the students: “If you were one of the ten lepers who were healed, would you have returned to Jesus and thanked him?” Almost every student raised their hand. I hated to do this to them, but I did. “No you wouldn’t. You didn’t even say thanks for me giving you a piece of candy for drawing a line! Did you notice that I waited after everyone’s turn to give space for an act of gratefulness? Yeah! Nothing. We all like to think we are thankful, but we are not.”

When we focus on ourselves, we are NOT thankful and we don’t SEE others.

When we focus on Jesus, we ARE thankful and we do SEE others.

Here are the questions our small groups discussed after the teaching: Selfish SGL Questions [179kb, pdf]

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