Debts Are Tossed

Having Words with Jesus

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Worship needs a vision that looks first to God and then to community within and then to the world beyond the walls. We are driven by the question, “How do we share this gift of faith?” We are constantly seeking ways to be a witness to the treasure we have found, to the joy we live.

Note to the Teacher

Learning Outcomes: Students will understand the power of money and the importance of not allowing it to become our master.

The discussion encourages students to think about how tempting money can be in our lives.

Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.

1. Icebreaker: Coin Flip (10 minutes)

  • Give everyone a coin. Have students pair up and do a coin flip. Whoever wins the flip, wins the partner’s coin.
  • Next, ask students to find a new person to challenge.
  • Continue this until one person has all the coins. (You can decide what happens with these coins--return, keep, or donate to the offering.)
  • To make this activity virtual, you as the leader can flip coins for the group and keep pairing up winners of the coin flip.

Icebreaker Debrief:

  • Flipping a coin gives you a 50/50 shot at winning. Is there any skill involved in this measure of competition?
  • Would you, under normal circumstances, use this measure of gaining more money if it were your own?
  • Money is the topic of discussion in today’s lesson. Let’s see what Jesus has to say.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today comes from Luke 16:1-13. Please read from two different versions to help students understand the passage.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • Jesus is again using parables (stories) to try and get a lesson across to the Pharisees. In this passage, who do you think is the rich man and who is the household manager?
  • The household manager was the person who took care of the money. What was it that the rich man heard about his manager?
  • Why do you think the manager starts to reduce what is owed to his master, even while he is getting fired (released from his duties)?
  • Reread verses 8-12. Who are the “people who belong to this world” versus “the people who belong to the light”?
  • What do you think are the true riches in verse 11? How are these different from money?
  • Can you paraphrase the last verse of this passage in your own words (verse 13)?
  • What are some examples in our lives today of how people allow money to be their masters?
  • What are things Christians can do with their money that show that God is our master, not money?
  • Why do you think this is an important lesson?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Show students the Marshmallow Test:


  • While you may not be tempted by marshmallows now, as a child, you probably would have related to this. Why was it so difficult for the children to wait to eat the marshmallow in front of them, knowing they would get to eat two if they waited?
  • What if this were money? If you were given $100 and told you could not spend anything for a month and you could double it, would you do it?
  • Why is money seem so tempting? Follow up if time allows by saying something such as, “Money is a human invention. It can do a lot of good or a lot of harm. Why do you think Jesus spends so much time talking about money? Are there other scriptures you can remember about Jesus and money?” (Have students Google how many times the Bible and Jesus talk about money. Money is, in fact, one of the subjects Jesus talked about most!)
  • Money is something we think we need, and most of our lives revolve around money. We have built systems where we rely on money (and our ability to earn it) as opposed to relying on other people and bartering for goods and services. So how can we, as Christians, have a healthy relationship with money?

Close with a time of prayer.


  • A coin for each person
  • YouTube clips: Marshmallow Test (There are several to choose from.)

In This Series...

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes