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All In! A Lesson Plan on Risking It All

About This Lesson Plan on Risking It All

This All In lesson plan encourages us to think about what we are willing to risk as disciples. Jesus often challenged people about their values. The Pearl of Great Price and the Treasure are parables about what is important to us and to our Heavenly Father. This exercise helps us consider what is valuable to us. What do you think about risking it all to allow God to give us something truly valuable?

The parables of the Pearl of Great Price and the Treasure serve as enlightening stories that Jesus shared to convey important lessons. In these parables, individuals come across precious treasures hidden within fields or a valuable pearl, symbolizing something of immense worth. The key message behind these stories is to contemplate what truly matters to us and our Heavenly Father.

In the context of our faith, we explore the concept of risking it all to allow God to grant us something genuinely valuable. This notion asks us to consider the possibility of sacrificing worldly desires or comforts for the sake of aligning ourselves with God’s greater plan. It involves taking bold steps, letting go of our fears, and entrusting ourselves to our Heavenly Father.

Opening Game for All In

Start this lesson plan on risking it all by playing Show Me the Money (see the complete instructions).

Show Me the Money is an engaging game that ties into the theme of “risking it all.” Through challenges and wagers, players embody the spirit of taking risks for potential rewards. It offers a lighthearted opportunity to explore the value of stepping out of comfort zones and embracing uncertainty. Show Me the Money encourages participants to experience the thrill of risking it all in pursuit of victory, fostering a deeper understanding of calculated risks in life’s endeavors.

Follow up with a couple of questions:

  • Who likes making large wagers? Who wanted to bet smaller amounts?
  • Are you the sort of person who spends your money on one big thing or would you rather purchase several smaller things?

It is fun to gamble with play money. And many people learn that bigger bets can result in bigger rewards. In poker, there is a term called being “all in”. This means you are risking it all – everything you have! In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that we must be “all in” on building the Kingdom of God.

Scripture Reading for Lesson Plan on Risking It All

Consider the message in Matthew 13:44-52:

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it”.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.

Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

Do you understand all these things? They answered, “Yes.”

And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

Matthew 13:44-52

Discussion for this Lesson Plan on Risking It All

We are going to focus on the first two parables, although this whole gospel points to the importance of being all in and risking it all that we have to be true disciples of Jesus.

Consider the parable of the treasure in a field. Jesus tells us that a man finds a treasure in a field. The man is so excited that he sells everything he has to buy the field with the treasure.

But think about it. The field costs everything he has! How much was the treasure worth? We don’t know. But probably not worth every last penny this guy owned, at least from a money point of view. It is extremely doubtful that this man will recover the money he spent. But the treasure is valuable to him and he was willing to risk everything to get it.

The parable of the pearl of great price is similar. Once again, the man sells everything he has to purchase the pearl. This one seems to drive the point home even more. The people listening to Jesus would know that no pearl was really worth that much. The man would never be able to sell it for that much. So why was he all in?

It is important to remember that Jesus is not a financial advisor giving investment advice. Few things in life are worth risking it all. But Jesus wants us to know that the Kingdom of God is worth the risk. We need to pursue it with all we have.

Reflection Questions for All In Lesson Plan

Give everyone some paper and a pen or pencil. Have them find a comfortable place to sit.

Your house is on fire. You have just enough time to remove five items safely. Write down which five items you would take with you. Be specific. For example, don’t say photos. Tell us which specific photo you would take.

Give them a few minutes to do this.

Now you are going to make a second list. You have just inherited $100,000 from your long lost Aunt Gertrude. Make a list of everything you would purchase with the money.

Give them a few minutes to do this.

Now have them share these lists. Point out any common themes or unusual choices.

  • Look at the list of items you removed from the fire. Do you think you will still value these items in ten years? Why or why not?
  • Look at both of your lists. Do you see any common themes? Are these things centered on entertainment, school, memories, faith, cost, yourself, others, etc. ?

Now close your eyes and imagine that your hands are full of all of the things you value. Some of the things have been “miniaturized” so they will fit! Anyway, all of these things are in your hands and Jesus is standing before you, holding a very large pearl or gem. This is something which he wants us to have and is important to Him.

Imagine taking some of the things you value out of your hands to make room for the treasure Jesus wants to give them.

  • How do you feel about giving some of their things up?
  • Does it make you feel anxious? Sad? Upset? Free?

Keep removing things from your hands until there is nothing left.

Jesus wants to give us the treasure of a relationship with him. But sometimes things are getting in the way. We might want to sleep in on Sundays instead of going to Mass. We might want to be popular instead of standing up for the outsider at school.

Small Group Reflection Questions for Lesson Plan on Risking it All

After the reflection, young people will be divided into small groups for further discussion about risking it all. The following questions will guide their conversation:

  • When you were imagining removing things from your hands, what were the easiest things to give up?
  • What was the most difficult?

After a few minutes, ask for volunteers to share their thoughts with the larger group.

Challenge for the All In Lesson Plan

This week, try to be aware of the things you are holding on to. What is keeping you from risking it all for Jesus? When you become of something you value more than the Kingdom of God, imagine Jesus taking it from your hands and replacing it with something even better. Try risking it all and letting go.

Prayer for the Lesson Plan on Risking it All

Close with the Suscipe (Take Lord Receive) Prayer.

The Suscipe prayer, written by St. Ignatius of Loyola, reflects his profound understanding of risking it all for God. St. Ignatius believed that everything we possess, including our wealth, health, and life situations, is bestowed upon us by God for a purpose. This prayer urges us not to hold onto these things tightly, but to willingly offer them back to God. By surrendering everything to God, we embrace the uncertainty and trust that He will use our lives and resources for His greater plan.

More Themes for the Lesson Plan on Risking It All

  • Risk and Sacrifice: The lesson plan explores the theme of risk and sacrifice through the parables of the Pearl of Great Price and the Treasure in the Field. It highlights the willingness of individuals to risk everything they have for something they perceive as valuable, even if it may not be financially rewarding. The lesson emphasizes the importance of being all-in and risking it all to fully commit to a life of discipleship.
  • Priorities and Values: The lesson plan prompts participants to reflect on their priorities and values. By engaging in activities such as listing items they would save from a fire or imagining what they would do with a significant inheritance, participants confront the things they hold dear and evaluate their significance in the long run. The lesson encourages individuals to question whether their values align with the teachings of Jesus and the pursuit of the Kingdom of God.
  • Letting Go and Embracing Jesus: The lesson plan challenges participants to consider what might be hindering their relationship with Jesus. It encourages them to let go of worldly attachments or behaviors that distract them from fully embracing a life centered around faith and the Kingdom of God. By surrendering these hindrances, participants are invited to make room for the treasure that Jesus wants to offer—an intimate relationship with Him.
  • The Kingdom of God: The concept of the Kingdom of God is a central theme throughout the lesson plan. It underscores the idea that the Kingdom of God is of utmost value and worth risking everything for. The lesson invites participants to reevaluate their priorities and actively pursue the Kingdom, recognizing its significance in their lives.

Background Material for the Lesson Plan on Risking It All

In the Gospel of Matthew, specifically in Matthew 13:44-52, Jesus shares two parables that are essential to our lesson on risking it all for the Kingdom of God. In these parables, known as the Pearl of Great Price and the Treasure in the Field, Jesus uses vivid imagery to convey profound messages. He tells of a man who finds a treasure hidden in a field and sells everything he has to buy that field, and of a merchant who discovers a pearl of great value and sells all his possessions to acquire it. These parables challenge us to reflect on what we consider truly valuable and worth sacrificing for.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides further insights related to our lesson. In CCC 546, it highlights that Jesus’ parables invite us to the Kingdom of God but also call us to personal commitment. This encourages us to actively respond and make choices aligned with the teachings of Jesus. The Kingdom of God is the reign of God’s love in our hearts and throughout the world. We must recognize the importance of seeking and embracing the Kingdom in our lives.

Moreover, the Catechism reminds us of the necessity for conversion and repentance, calling us to turn away from worldly attachments and wholeheartedly believe in the Gospel. In CCC 2544, it addresses the topic of material possessions, highlighting the need for detachment from them and emphasizing the primacy of seeking the Kingdom of God above material wealth.

By incorporating these scripture references and excerpts from the Catechism, we ground our lesson in the teachings of Jesus and the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church. This provides a solid foundation for exploring the theme of risking it all for the Kingdom of God, guiding our reflection on what truly holds value and the necessary detachment from worldly desires in our journey of discipleship.

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Youth Ministry Lesson Plans

Youth Ministry Lesson Plans and Reflections

Lesson plans are meant to give a framework for introducing information to youth. This All In! Lesson Plan on Risking It All is part of a larger set. Most of these also include reflection questions for small group sharing. These help youth think about how to apply what they have learned to their everyday lives.

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