Module 1: Teacher’s Book

Lesson 7: Kingdom Math

Key Objectives

  1. Understand God’s multiplication and blessings on people as they obey.
  2. Understand the law of the harvest: seeds sown obediently and multiplied by God do bear fruit, even if the sower does not necessarily experience or see the benefit personally.
  3. See that even the poor can “love your neighbor as yourself.”
  4. Realize people already have what it takes to fulfill that command to love their neighbor.
  5. Understand there are consequences of obedience/disobedience in loving others.

Handouts

7.1 Isaiah 40:29 Signs (5 pages/1 set only)

7.2 Five Loaves, Two Fish envelopes (1 envelope per group)

7.3 Elijah & the Widow envelopes (1 envelope per group)

7.4 A Widow and Her Two Coins envelopes (1 envelope per group)

7.4 Parable of the Talents envelopes (1 envelope per group)

NOTE:  If the group has low math literacy then only use the cards that describe what they had before and after. Ask the group to sort the pictures into two piles – before and after.  Ask them, “What is the difference between these two piles? How did the people go from pile one to two?”  GOD.  Make sure they understand God caused the multiplication.

Introduction: Isaiah 40:29

Have you noticed that the Bible has mathematical principles in it? In this lesson, we are going to look at some of the mathematics found in the bible.

Read Isaiah 40:29.  Explain that this will be our key verse for this lesson.

As a large group discuss:

  • Who is strong? Who is weak?
  • What does God do for us?
  • Can we put this verse into a mathematical formula? Let’s try…
    If you have a large group, invite five of the people to the front and give them each one of the words or mathematical signs (cards are in the poster pack).  For a small group, put all the cards on the floor and work together to get them in the correct order.

“Our Weakness x God = Strength”

What can we learn from this verse—this “formula”?

#1 “A Boy and His Lunch” (John 6:1-14)

Tell the story of the boy and his lunch in a creative manner.

Once there was a little boy. He heard that a famous teacher was coming to the Sea of Galilee and wanted to go and hear him speak.  He asked his mother, but she said no. It was too far and lunch was almost ready.  He begged again and again and finally his mother agreed.  She packed him a small lunch in his handkerchief and he took off. 

When he finally reached his destination, he discovered it was already packed with people.  As with any young boy, he pushed through the crowd to the front.  Finally, he found a place where he could easily hear the teacher and his followers.  He couldn’t believe the way the teacher spoke and the things he said. He completely forgot he still hadn’t eaten his lunch. 

Finally, the hunger pains started getting too much and he remembered the lunch his mother had packed for him.  He reached slowly into his pocket trying not to draw attention to himself.

All of a sudden, the teacher stopped and told his disciples to feed everyone.  The boy looked around and realized the crowd had grown to 20,000 people.  “Wow,” he wondered, ”how are they going to make food for so many people?”  Just as he was wondering, the disciples seemed to have the same thought and one asked the teacher where they were going to get the money to feed such a crowd.  It would take at least a year’s wages. 

The teacher asked them, “What do you have?”  The small boy started to hide his lunch, but it was too late. One helper, Andrew, saw him.  “Teacher,” he said, “we have 1,2,3,4,5 slices of bread and 2 fish.”

 The teacher replied, “Bring them to me.”

Can you imagine what happened next?

Andrew said to the boy, “The teacher wants your lunch.” The boy agreed to give his lunch to Andrew, who in turn gave it to the Teacher.

Jesus took the boy’s lunch and gave thanks, then started to divide the food.  The boy stared in disbelief as the helpers kept passing food out.  Everyone was eating and continued to eat until they were full.  He looked around and saw that there were 12 baskets of food left. 

Now he couldn’t wait to get home and tell his mother.  He ran all the way home and told her with great excitement that his lunch had fed 5,000 men, women, and children! His mother turned to him and sighed, “Son, how many times do I have to tell you not to make up stories!” 

How can we turn this story into a formula?

Divide into groups of 3-4 and give each group an envelope with the “boy and his lunch” cut outs (Handout 7.2)  OR make large signs and ask the group to work together to make a formula.  Give them suggestions to help them  find the answer. Once the group has done one math formula together, they can do the rest in small groups.

Answer:  “boy + 5 loaves + 2 fish x Jesus = food for 5000 + women and children + 12 baskets

Now that’s Kingdom Math!

Large group discussion:

  • Did Jesus need the boy and his lunch? Was there another way that He could have fed the people?
  • Why did Jesus choose to take a little boy’s only food?

Tell the class that while they consider these questions, we will continue to do more bible math.

#2 “The Widow and Her Last Meal” (1 Kings 17:7)

It was a very difficult time in Israel’s history. The country had been in a terrible famine for 3 ½ years. People were dying.  Even Elijah, God’s prophet, suffered.

But God used a widow woman to care for Elijah. As Elijah walked through the town, he saw a woman picking up sticks and God told him to go to her and ask for “a little water in a jar to drink.” The women agreed to get the water for Elijah, but before she could, Elijah then asked if she would also bring him bread to eat first, even before she and her son had eaten.

The woman replied, “As the Lord lives, I have only enough for one meal, for my son and I, and then we will surely die!” To this Elijah answered her, “Don’t be afraid, the Lord will provide.”

The woman turned to leave and make food for Elijah from the small amount of oil and flour she had. Yet when she had used all of her oil and flour to prepare bread for Elijah, she was surprised to discover her jars of oil and flour were full again, as if they had not been touched.  The woman said to Elijah, “I used all I had for you, but now it’s back. Praise the Lord!”

The Bible tells us that not only did God provide enough for Elijah, the woman and the woman’s family on that day, but He provided enough for her and her family to eat for another 3 ½ years! A miracle.

That’s Kingdom Math!

How can we turn this story into a formula?

Distribute the envelopes (HANDOUT 7.3) and allow each group to try and create a formula.

Answer: “Widow + 1 cake  x  God  =  1 cake x 3 people  x  365 days  x  3 years =  3,285”

In the low literacy envelope, place the words or symbols for:

  • Widow
  • 1 cake
  • Food for three people for 3 years

Discuss:

  • Was the woman poor?
  • Could God have fed Elijah another way?
  • Why did God ask Elijah to go to the poor widow woman and ask to be fed?
  • Why did God ask the little boy for his only food?
  • Does God have a heart for poor and widows?

#3 “Widow and Her Two Coins” (Mark 12:41)

One day when Jesus was at the temple sitting near the offering basket, He saw the rich drawing attention to themselves as they gave offerings. One poor woman had only two small coins. Because it was all she had, she felt ashamed and did not want others to see, so she gave her offering quietly, as if in secret.

Jesus gathered His disciples and made an observation saying, “This woman gave more than all of the others.”

Discuss:

  • What did Jesus mean? How did she give more?
  • Why didn’t Jesus tell her “No, mother, you need it more than the temple.”  He could have, but He didn’t. Why?

Instead of stopping her, Jesus took special note of her sacrifice.  Since then, the story of her giving has been written down for many to read.  While true that she gave proportionally more, it is literally true as well. For more than 2000 years, Christians have been inspired by her.  Think how much has been given as a result of her example. This is the BIGGEST multiplication of all. She gave what she had and God multiplied it. That is Kingdom Math!

Distribute the envelopes (HANDOUT 7.4)

Answer: “widow  +  2 coins  x  Jesus  = 2,000 years of inspiration!”

Low Literacy

  • Widow
  • Two coins
  • Inspiration for 2000 years

Remind the group:

  • God asked a little boy to give his only lunch…
  • He asked a widow to feed Elijah first, giving him her last meal…
  • He allowed this widow to give all that she had…

Discuss:

  • Did Jesus excuse the poor from giving?
  • Do givers always see or experience personal blessing in this life?
  • To be obedient to Jesus’ command to love our neighbor, what do we need?  Anything special? (We only need what we have.)
  • What attitude? (An attitude of faith, obedience, and humility.)
  • Is anything “too little” or “too insignificant” to give to God?
  • Does God bless the giving of the poor?
  • When God blesses the gifts of the poor, is it “addition” or “multiplication?”

One last story. This one is not so happy…

#4 “Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25:14)

There was once a wealthy man going on a long journey. Before leaving, he called his three servants. To the first, he gave five coins and said, “Put it to work until I return.” To the second, he gave two coins and said, “Put it to work until I return.” And lastly, to the third, he gave one coin and repeated, “Put it to work until I return.”

The wealthy man went away and after a very long time he came back. He once again called his three servants and asked how they had done in his absence. The first servant reported he had gained five more coins. To this, the wealthy man replied, “Well done! Faithful with few, now have more.” The second servant then reported he had gained two more coins and again the wealthy man replied, “Well done! Faithful with few, now have more.”

Then lastly, the third servant explained, “I know you are a hard and difficult man. I was afraid to lose the coin you gave me so I buried it. It is not lost.” To this the wealthy man replied, “Lazy and wicked servant!” He took his coin, gave it to the first servant, and threw him out of the Kingdom.

This, too, is Kingdom Math. Let’s see…

Distribute the final envelope (HANDOUT 7.5)

Answer: “servant  + 1 talent  x  0  =  0 increase  +  servant thrown into darkness”

Discuss:

  • Who was given the least, the poorest? But look what happened!
  • Doesn’t God care about the poor?  So why was he thrown out of the Kingdom?
  • What consequence is there even for the poor if they do not obey Jesus?

Conclusion

Ask the group to think through the following questions.  As appropriate, ask them to discuss the answers.

  1. How have we been applying these principles in our personal life?
  2. How much are these principles being practiced in our church?
  3. What changes can I make to apply these principles more in my life and church?