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What is Wealth?

To help young people to understand that wealth is more than just money.

by M. M. Atherton

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To help young people to understand that wealth is more than just money.

Preparation and materials

  • A list of desirables:
    Plenty of money in my pocket/Good mates/Nice holidays/Good health/Nice clothes/Plenty of food to eat/Time to do what I want/Helping others.
  • Examples of how money can be used for good and bad activities:
    Good: Providing health services/Giving to those with less/Buying medical equipment/ Buying gifts for friends and family.
    Bad: Buying certain drugs/Buying weapons/Making money out of people less fortunate.
  • A passage from the New Testament: 1 Timothy 6.6–19.

Assembly

  1. Start the assembly by showing a list of desirables and asking the students to decide which are the three most important ones for them.
  2. Now ask them to consider whether the things on their list all require money to acquire.
  3. If any do, ask them if this is a good thing. Do we need money to make us happy?
  4. If any don’t, which things do not require money and do they make us equally happy?
  5. Ask the students if they have heard the phrase ‘money is the root of all evil’. What do they think this means? Do they think it is right?
  6. At this stage, you can reflect with the students on their thoughts and/or use the passage from the New Testament to illustrate how St Paul showed that loving money too much can lead to evil but that money itself is not a bad thing.
  7. Read the passage from 1 Timothy 6.6–19.
  8. The first thing to point out is that materialism and the desire for wealth are not new! In this passage, St Paul is dealing with the problem of the desire people have for possessions. He is writing to a younger man whom he believes needs guidance.
  9. St Paul encourages Timothy to teach about the right use of money and possessions. He is clear that money and wealth can be used for good but, if we become obsessed with them, they can lead us to become selfish and ungenerous.

Time for reflection

Spend a few quiet moments thinking about your attitude towards your possessions or money. What do you think is really valuable, really important in your life?

Do we all use the resources we have to the benefit of others as well as ourselves?

Hymn

‘Fight the Good Fight’ (Mission Praise, 49)

Music

‘Money, Money, Money’ by Abba
‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ by The Beatles
‘Favourite Things’ by Big Brovaz

Publication date: October 2004   (Vol.6 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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