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What Can Money Buy You?

To reflect on global poverty and the purpose of wealth

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To reflect on global poverty and the purpose of wealth.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need 100 matchsticks.
  • Display Amos 5.24 on an OHT:
    'Do you know what I want? I want justice - oceans of it. I want fairness - rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want.'

Assembly

  1. Ask the children: if they had a million pounds what would they do with it? Elicit some answers.

  2. Then ask: Are most people in the world rich or poor? Give the children the following statistics, perhaps using them as questions if you wish. You can use 100 matchsticks on an OHP to demonstrate the statistics visually.

    If the world were 100 people:
    - 59 per cent of the entire world's wealth would belong to only 6 people
    - and all 6 would be citizens of the United States
    - 80 would live in substandard housing
    - 70 would be unable to read
    - 50 would suffer from malnutrition
    - 1 would be near death
    - 1 would be near birth
    - Only 1 would have a college education.

    Finish with this fact: Half the world - nearly 3 billion people - lives on less than $2 (about £1) a day.

  3. The Bible teaches us that there are some things God hates - and one of them is poverty. God hates it when we ignore terrible poverty. In the Bible he says this (display on OHP):

    'Do you know what I want? I want justice - oceans of it. I want fairness - rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want.' (Amos 5.24)

  4. Tell this story:

    There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very unhappy because he had worked very hard for his money. He began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.

    An angel hears his plea and appears to him. 'Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you.'

    But the man implores the angel to speak to God to see if he might bend the rules. The angel returns and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him.

    Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed. Soon after, the man dies and shows up at the pearly gates of heaven to greet St Peter. Seeing the suitcase, Peter says, 'Hold on, you can't bring that in here!'

    But the man explains to Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with God. Sure enough, Peter checks with God and comes back saying, 'You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through.'

    Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind. He exclaims, 'You brought pavement?!'

  5. Say that money has no value on its own. It is what you do with it that counts. In heaven the 'streets are paved with gold' but that's not what God thinks of as true wealth.

Time for reflection

Spend a few quiet moments thinking about true wealth. What do you think is really valuable, really important in life?

Dear God,
We are sorry that the world is unfair.
Help us to use our wealth to make it a fairer place.
Amen.

Song/music

'God in his love' (Come and Praise, 76)

Publication date: April 2004   (Vol.6 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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