Example #13 Maths and Giving

What if a maths lesson helped students to think about giving?

Alison was unhappy with her Secondary maths unit on money, as most of the examples focused on making or gaining money. She got together with the personal development/PSHE teacher to create something different.

"I decided to restructure my introductory lesson and ask the students to consider the relationship between getting money, spending it and giving it away by using a game where a roll of the dice determined what was acquired, spent or given away. I put the students in groups and gave them game boards with three columns labelled: Getting money, Spending money, Giving money. All students started with the same amount of money: £10. In round one they gained various amounts of money by a throw of the dice; in round two they spent money and in the third round they gave money away. Students kept a record as the game progressed. Some pupils found they didn’t have any money left to give away, some had plenty. The groups discussed what happened with each round.
  • Which throws left you with most money?
  • Which throws left you with least money?
  • Work out 3 throws that would leave you with less than £5.
"Several combinations of throws left students with too little money to give away; this led to a discussion about whether it is possible to have a day out with friends and still have some money left to give. What could they do differently to make this happen? Students played the 2nd version of the game where giving is in the second round. This time, pupils have enough money to give away in round two, but didn’t always have enough money to spend on themselves in round three. We compared the results from the two games, and the difference changing the order made."

What’s going on here?

Alison saw her maths lesson as a way of stimulating her students to think about giving and how they use money.
She engaged students in adopting a new framework by engaging in a game that prompted reflection on getting and giving, and by giving students two contrasting experiences to reflect upon (the two forms of the game).
She reshaped her practice by designing a game that raised the right questions and making space for a discussion about priorities and what difference they make.
How do I do this myself?

What does this have to do with faith, hope and love?

Giving is a strong motif in the Bible. God gave the world to humanity out of love and he provides a fertile world. In response, God calls for generosity. Giving to the poor and needy is accepted as done to Christ (Matthew 25:37-40). Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Any riches we have should be gained honestly and justly and should be shared. With wealth comes a responsibility for others (Deuteronomy 16:17). Giving money away to help other people is a concrete way to demonstrate love for our neighbour and caring for others in our local or global community. In many cases, churches and aid agencies bring hope for the future to those they support. By intentionally and regularly giving money away, people can express their faith and values.

What difference does it make?

Most teaching about addition and subtraction of money centres around buying and spending, or occasionally, about saving to gain interest on saved money. Alison helped her pupils to see the consequences of giving money away, encouraging them to rethink giving from a gesture on ‘Red nose day’ to something that is part of life and needs budgeting for.

Where could we go from here?

This game can be adapted to various levels. The simplest version of this game focuses on basic addition and subtraction of money. It can be made more difficult by using different amounts of money or by using percentages rather than amounts of money. It can be played using mental arithmetic or using pens and paper. Teachers decide whether to allow calculators. More generally, simulations that allow students to try out more than one scenario in relation to important choices can help moral and spiritual reflection.

Digging deeper

God is described as a giving God in the Bible. He loved the world so much he gave his only son (John 3:16), he provides for people and is called ‘The Provider’. Giving is in response to God’s giving to humanity. Giving and receiving are essential parts of Christian community life, not something that happens occasionally or reluctantly (2 Corinthians 9:5-15). The possession of gifts and material wealth bring with them responsibility; they are for serving the common good. Money is not bad but we should not ‘serve’ it (1 Timothy 6:10). The attitude of the Bible is summed up in Luke’s gospel: we are not defined by what we own (Luke 12:15).
Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can. John Wesley

Giving a minimum of one tenth was practised in the Old Testament (Leviticus 27:30-32). Some Christians follow this practice today. Others give what they can depending on circumstances and bearing in mind the Bible’s teaching about generosity and care for the poor (2 Corinthians 8:10-12).

Our society looks for freedom and happiness in wealth, fame and power. The Bible sees it in giving and serving others. Jesus taught that ultimately people give account to God for what they do, including what they do with their money (Matthew 16:27).

All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbours. John Calvin

Explore similar examples:

What if making pie charts were connected to giving?
What if learning Spanish were about giving, receiving and respect?
What if a literacy lesson were about words as gifts?
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1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps. 5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, Here's the groom! Come to meet him! 7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out. 9The girls who were wise answered, There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves. 10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, Sir, sir! Open the door for us! 12But the groom replied, I don't even know you! 13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen. A story about three servants (Luke 19.11-27) Jesus continued: 14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country. 16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground. 19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more. 21Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more. 23Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin! 26The master of the servant told him, You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it. 28Then the master said, Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. The final judgment Jesus continued: 31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me. 37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail? 40The king will answer, Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me. 41Then the king will say to those on his left, Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me. 44Then the people will ask, Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail? 45The king will say to them, Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me. 46Then Jesus said, Those people will be punished for ever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life. The plot to kill Jesus (Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2; John 11.45-53)
1When the riot was over, Paul sent for the followers and encouraged them. He then said goodbye to them and left for Macedonia. 2As he travelled from place to place, he encouraged the followers with many messages. Finally, he went to Greece 3and stayed there for three months. Paul was about to sail to Syria. But some of the Jewish leaders plotted against him, so he decided to return by way of Macedonia. 4With him were Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea, and Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica. Gaius from Derbe was also with him, and so were Timothy and the two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5They went on ahead to Troas and waited for us there. 6After the Festival of Thin Bread, we sailed from Philippi. Five days later we met them in Troas and stayed there for a week. Paul's last visit to Troas 7On the first day of the week we met to break bread together. Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. 8In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. 9A young man called Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, Don't worry! He's alive. 11After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. 12Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy. The voyage from Troas to Miletus 13Paul decided to travel by land to Assos. The rest of us went on ahead by ship, and we were to take him aboard there. 14When he met us in Assos, he came aboard, and we sailed on to Mitylene. 15The next day we came to a place near Chios, and the following day we reached Samos. The day after that we sailed to Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost. Paul says goodbye to the church leaders of Ephesus 17From Miletus, Paul sent a message for the church leaders at Ephesus to come and meet with him. 18When they got there, he said: You know everything I did during the time I was with you when I first came to Asia. 19Some of the Jews plotted against me and caused me a lot of sorrow and trouble. But I served the Lord and was humble. 20When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn't hold back from telling anything that would help you. 21I told Jews and Gentiles to turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God's Spirit and go there. 23In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem. 24But I don't care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God's great kindness. 25I have gone from place to place, preaching to you about God's kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26I tell you today that I am no longer responsible for any of you! 27I have told you everything God wants you to know. 28Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God's church. It is the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son. 29I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. 30Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord's followers. 31Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes. 32I now place you in God's care. Remember the message about his great kindness! This message can help you and give you what belongs to you as God's people. 33I have never wanted anyone's money or clothes. 34You know how I have worked with my own hands to make a living for myself and my friends. 35By everything I did, I showed how you should work to help everyone who is weak. Remember that our Lord Jesus said, More blessings come from giving than from receiving. 36After Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37Everyone cried and hugged and kissed him. 38They were especially sad because Paul had told them, You will never see me again. Then they went with him to the ship. Paul goes to Jerusalem
1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, because one night in that month years ago, the Lord your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. 3Eat all the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the Lord . The Harvest Festival (Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21) Moses said to Israel: 9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped and celebrate the Harvest Festival in honour of the Lord your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. The Festival of Shelters (Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38) Moses said to Israel: 13After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The Lord will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honour of the Lord your God. Three festivals at the place of worship (Exodus 23.14-17) Moses said: 16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the Lord . 17The bigger the harvest the Lord gives you, the bigger your gift should be. Treat everyone with justice Moses said to Israel: 18After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you who become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you. Don't set up sacred poles or stones Moses said to Israel: 21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God, don't set up a sacred pole for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The Lord hates these things. Sacrifices that have something wrong with them Moses said to Israel:
1There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a Jewish leader. 2One night he went to Jesus and said, Sir, we know that God has sent you to teach us. You could not perform these miracles, unless God were with you. 3Jesus replied, I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God's kingdom! 4Nicodemus asked, How can a grown man ever be born a second time? 5Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. 6Humans give life to their children. Yet only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. 7Don't be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. 8Only God's Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. 9How can this be? Nicodemus asked. 10Jesus replied: How can you be a teacher of Israel and not know these things? 11I tell you for certain that we know what we are talking about because we have seen it ourselves. But none of you will accept what we say. 12If you don't believe when I talk to you about things on earth, how can you possibly believe if I talk to you about things in heaven? 13No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there. 14And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. 15Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life. 16God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! 18No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son. 19The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. 20People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. 21But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do. Jesus and John the Baptist 22Later, Jesus and his disciples went to Judea, where he stayed with them for a while and was baptizing people. 23John had not yet been put in jail. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was a lot of water, and people were coming there for John to baptize them. 25John's followers got into an argument with a Jewish man about a ceremony of washing. 26They went to John and said, Rabbi, you spoke about a man when you were with him east of the Jordan. He is now baptizing people, and everyone is going to him. 27John replied: No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it. 28Surely you remember how I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am only the one sent ahead of him. 29At a wedding the groom is the one who gets married. The best man is glad just to be there and to hear the groom's voice. That's why I am so glad. 30Jesus must become more important, while I become less important. The one who comes from heaven John continued: 31God's Son comes from heaven and is above all others. Everyone who comes from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all others. 32He speaks about what he has seen and heard, and yet no one believes him. 33But everyone who does believe him has shown that God is truthful. 34The Son was sent to speak God's message, and he has been given the full power of God's Spirit. 35The Father loves the Son and has given him everything. 36Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life. But no one who rejects him will ever share in that life, and God will be angry with them for ever.
1I don't need to write to you about the money you plan to give for God's people. 2I know how eager you are to give. And I have proudly told the Lord's followers in Macedonia that you people in Achaia have been ready for a whole year. Now your desire to give has made them want to give. 3That's why I am sending Titus and the two others to you. I want you to be ready, just as I promised. This will prove that we were not wrong to boast about you. 4Some followers from Macedonia may come with me, and I want them to find that you have the money ready. If you don't, I would be embarrassed for trusting you to do this. But you would be embarrassed even more. 5So I have decided to ask Titus and the others to spend some time with you before I arrive. This way they can arrange to collect the money you have promised. Then you will have the chance to give because you want to, and not because you feel forced to. 6Remember this saying, A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest. 7Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don't feel sorry that you must give and don't feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give. 8God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others. 9The Scriptures say, God freely gives his gifts to the poor, and always does right. 10God gives seed to farmers and provides everyone with food. He will increase what you have, so that you can give even more to those in need. 11You will be blessed in every way, and you will be able to keep on being generous. Then many people will thank God when we deliver your gift. 12What you are doing is much more than a service that supplies God's people with what they need. It is something that will make many others thank God. 13The way in which you have proved yourselves by this service will bring honour and praise to God. You believed the message about Christ, and you obeyed it by sharing generously with God's people and with everyone else. 14Now they are praying for you and want to see you, because God used you to bless them so very much. 15Thank God for his gift that is too wonderful for words! Paul defends his work for Christ
1If you are a slave, you should respect and honour your owner. This will keep people from saying bad things about God and about our teaching. 2If any of you slaves have owners who are followers, you should show them respect. After all, they are also followers of Christ, and he loves them. So you should serve and help them the best you can. False teaching and true wealth These are the things you must teach and tell the people to do. 3Anyone who teaches something different disagrees with the correct and godly teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4Those people who disagree are proud of themselves, but they don't really know a thing. Their minds are sick, and they like to argue over words. They cause jealousy, disagreements, unkind words, evil suspicions, 5and nasty quarrels. They have wicked minds and have missed out on the truth. These people think religion is supposed to make you rich. 6And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. 7We didn't bring anything into this world, and we won't take anything with us when we leave. 8So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes. 9People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 10The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. Fighting a good fight for the faith 11Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. 12Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. 13Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. 14Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 15The glorious God is the only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. At the time that God has already decided, he will send Jesus Christ back again. 16Only God lives for ever! And he lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honoured, and his power will last for ever. Amen. 17Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like. 20Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don't pay any attention to that godless and stupid talk that sounds clever but really isn't. 21Some people have even lost their faith by believing this talk. I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!
1As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples: Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops. The one to fear (Matthew 10.28-31) Jesus continued: 4My friends, don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear! 6Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn't forget a single one of them. 7Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Matthew 10.32,33; 12.32; 10.19,20) Jesus continued: 8If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God's angels that you are my followers. 9But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven. 11When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don't worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say. A rich fool 13A man in a crowd said to Jesus, Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died. 14Jesus answered, Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother? 15Then he said to the crowd, Don't be greedy! Owning a lot of things won't make your life safe. 16So Jesus told them this story: A rich man's farm produced a big crop, 17and he said to himself, What can I do? I don't have a place large enough to store everything. 18Later, he said, Now I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19Then I'll say to myself, You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20But God said to him, You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up? 21This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God. Worry (Matthew 6.25-34) 22Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? 26If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else? 27Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith! 29Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well. Treasures in heaven (Matthew 6.19-21) Jesus continued: 32My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves money bags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Faithful and unfaithful servants (Matthew 24.45-51) Jesus continued: 35Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and make his servants sit down so that he can serve them. 38Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39You would not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40So always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come. 41Peter asked Jesus, Did you say this just for us or for everyone? 42The Lord answered: Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44A servant who is always faithful will be put in charge of everything the master owns. 45But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won't return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted. 47If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48But servants who don't know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better. Not peace, but trouble (Matthew 10.34-36) Jesus continued: 49I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other. Knowing what to do (Matthew 16.2,3; 5.25,26) 54Jesus said to all the people: As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, It's going to rain, and it does. 55When the south wind blows, you say, It's going to get hot, and it does. 56Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don't really know what's going on right now. 57Why don't you understand the right thing to do? 58When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don't, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59You won't get out until you have paid the last penny you owe. Turn back to God
1The Lord told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel: If you ever want to free someone who has been promised to me, 3you may do so by paying the following amounts, weighed according to the official standards: fifty pieces of silver for men aged twenty to sixty, and thirty pieces for women; twenty pieces of silver for young men aged five to twenty, and ten pieces for young women; fifteen pieces of silver for men aged sixty and above and ten pieces for women; five pieces of silver for boys aged one month to five years, and three pieces for girls. 8If you have promised to give someone to me and can't afford to pay the full amount for that person's release, you will be taken to a priest, and he will decide how much you can afford. 9If you promise to sacrifice an animal to me, it becomes holy, and there is no way you can set it free. 10If you try to substitute any other animal, no matter how good, for the one you promised, they will both become holy and must be sacrificed. 11Donkeys are unfit for sacrifice, so if you promise me a donkey, you must bring it to the priest, 12and let him determine its value. 13But if you want to buy it back, you must pay an additional twenty per cent. 14If you promise a house to me, a priest will set the price, whatever the condition of the house. 15But if you decide to buy it back, you must pay an additional twenty per cent. 16If you promise part of your family's land to me, its value must be determined by the amount of seed needed to plant the land, and the rate will be ten pieces of silver for every twenty kilogrammes of seed. 17If this promise is made in the Year of Celebration, the land will be valued at the full price. 18But any time after that, the price will be worked out according to the number of years before the next Year of Celebration. 19If you decide to buy back the land, you must pay the price plus an additional twenty per cent, 20but you cannot buy it back once someone else has bought it. 21When the Year of Celebration comes, the land becomes holy because it belongs to me, and it will be given to the priests. 22If you promise me a field that you have bought, 23its value will be decided by a priest, according to the number of years before the next Year of Celebration, and the money you pay will be mine. 24However, on the next Year of Celebration, the land will go back to the family of its original owner. 25Every price will be set by the official standards. Various offerings The Lord said: 26All firstborn animals of your flocks and herds are already mine, and so you cannot promise any of them to me. 27If you promise me a donkey, you may buy it back by adding an additional twenty per cent to its value. If you don't buy it back, it can be sold to someone else for whatever a priest has said it is worth. 28Anything that you completely dedicate to me must be completely destroyed. It cannot be bought back or sold. Every person, animal, and piece of property that you dedicate completely is only for me. 29In fact, any humans who have been promised to me in this way must be put to death. 30Ten per cent of everything you harvest is holy and belongs to me, whether it grows in your fields or on your fruit trees. 31If you want to buy back this part of your harvest, you may do so by paying what it is worth plus an additional twenty per cent. 32When you count your flocks and herds, one out of ten of every newborn animal is holy and belongs to me, 33no matter how good or bad it is. If you substitute one animal for another, both of them become holy, and neither can be bought back. 34Moses was on Mount Sinai when the Lord gave him these laws for the people of Israel.
1My friends, we want you to know that the churches in Macedonia have shown others how kind God is. 2Although they were going through hard times and were very poor, they were glad to give generously. 3They gave as much as they could afford and even more, simply because they wanted to. 4They even asked and begged us to let them have the joy of giving their money for God's people. 5And they did more than we had hoped. They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6Titus was the one who got you started doing this good thing, so we begged him to help you finish what you had begun. 7You do everything better than anyone else. You have stronger faith. You speak better and know more. You are eager to give, and you love us better. Now you must give more generously than anyone else. 8I am not ordering you to do this. I am simply testing how real your love is by comparing it with the concern that others have shown. 9You know that our Lord Jesus Christ was kind enough to give up all his riches and become poor, so that you could become rich. 10A year ago you were the first ones to give, and you gave because you wanted to. So listen to my advice. 11I think you should finish what you started. If you give according to what you have, you will prove that you are as eager to give as you were to think about giving. 12It doesn't matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have. 13I am not trying to make life easier for others by making life harder for you. But it is only fair 14for you to share with them when you have so much, and they have so little. Later, when they have more than enough, and you are in need, they can share with you. Then everyone will have a fair share, 15just as the Scriptures say, Those who gathered too much had nothing left. Those who gathered only a little had all they needed. Titus and his friends 16I am grateful that God made Titus care as much about you as we do. 17When we begged Titus to visit you, he said he would. He wanted to because he cared so much for you. 18With Titus we are also sending one of the Lord's followers who is well known in every church for spreading the good news. 19The churches chose this follower to travel with us while we carry this gift that will bring praise to the Lord and show how much we hope to help. 20We don't want anyone to find fault with the way we handle your generous gift. 21But we want to do what pleases the Lord and what people think is right. 22We are also sending someone else with Titus and the other follower. We approve of this man. In fact, he has already shown us many times that he wants to help. And now he wants to help even more than ever, because he trusts you so much. 23Titus is my partner, who works with me to serve you. The other two followers are sent by the churches, and they bring honour to Christ. 24Treat them in such a way that the churches will see your love and will know why we boasted about you. The money for God's people
1The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tried to test him by asking for a sign from heaven. 2He told them: If the sky is red in the evening, you say the weather will be good. 3But if the sky is red and gloomy in the morning, you say it is going to rain. You can tell what the weather will be like by looking at the sky. But you don't understand what is happening now. 4You want a sign because you are evil and won't believe! But the only sign you will be given is what happened to Jonah. Then Jesus left. The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mark 8.14-21) 5The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread when they crossed the lake. 6Jesus then warned them, Watch out! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 7The disciples talked this over and said to each other, He must be saying this because we didn't bring along any bread. 8Jesus knew what they were thinking and said: You don't have much faith! Why are you talking about not having any bread? 9Don't you understand? Have you forgotten about the five thousand people and all those baskets of leftovers from just five loaves of bread? 10And what about the four thousand people and all those baskets of leftovers from only seven loaves of bread? 11Don't you know by now that I am not talking to you about bread? Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees! 12Finally, the disciples understood that Jesus wasn't talking about the yeast used to make bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Who is Jesus? (Mark 8.27-30; Luke 9.18-21) 13When Jesus and his disciples were near the town of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, What do people say about the Son of Man? 14The disciples answered, Some people say you are John the Baptist or perhaps Elijah or Jeremiah or some other prophet. 15Then Jesus asked them, But who do you say I am? 16Simon Peter spoke up, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. 17Jesus told him: Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! You didn't discover this on your own. It was shown to you by my Father in heaven. 18So I will call you Peter, which means a rock. On this rock I will build my church, and death itself will not have any power over it. 19I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But he will not allow anything that you don't allow. 20Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Jesus speaks about his suffering and death (Mark 8.319.1; Luke 9.22-27) 21From then on, Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life. 22Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. He said, God would never let this happen to you, Lord! 23Jesus turned to Peter and said, Satan, get away from me! You're in my way because you think like everyone else and not like God. 24Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 25If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 26What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul? 27The Son of Man will soon come in the glory of his Father and with his angels to reward all people for what they have done. 28I promise you that some of those standing here will not die before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom. The true glory of Jesus (Mark 9.2-13; Luke 9.28-36)