Self? Ish! (2 of 3) | Devotions with Dad

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Self? Ish! (2 of 3)

For DAD Only:

The Cold Within


Six humans trapped by happenstance
In black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first, a woman, held hers back.
For on a face around the fire,
She noticed it was black.

The next, a man, looking cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
So couldn’t bring himself to offer
The fire his stick of birch.

The third, a man, sat in tattered clothes;
Gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store.
And of how to keep what he’d earned
From the lazy poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For in his stick of wood he saw
A chance to spite the white.

And the last member of this group
Did naught except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.

Dad, read this story with your kids:

But I Want It

The evening after Mom’s birthday, Dad was sitting in his easy chair again, and Rusty had gone into the kitchen. Soon, he came back out and asked, “Dad, there’s one piece of cake left. Can I have it with the last scoop of ice cream for dessert?”

“Hey,” Misty said, “I wanted that.”

“But I asked first,” Rusty said.

“I like chocolate, better than you do,” she said.

“Can I, Dad?” Rusty demanded.

“Hmmm. Sounds like we still need a little lesson on selfishness.” Dad stroked his chin. “I know, rather than let you two fight about who gets the last piece, I’ll just eat it.”

“But…” Rusty started.

“Well, I…” Misty yammered.

Dad glanced between the two of them for a moment. “Okay, I think, I’ve got a deal we can work out between the two of you. First, I want us to look at the Bible.”

Misty sat down on the couch while Dad got out the Bible and let them both read Philippians 2:4. Then he asked them some questions, and the three of them talked about caring more about other people. When they finished their Bible discussion, Dad had a story for them.

“Once a boy lived on a busy little street in a town just north of here. Down a few blocks, lived another boy names Sonny who always caused problems. This mean boy picked on the little kids and pushed them off the swings at the playground. Nobody liked him.

“This other boy, however, was a good kid. He had a good Christian family, went to church often, and did what his parents told him. He also knew how to work hard.

“The mean boy down the street, Sonny, didn’t go to church and rarely did what his parents told him. He didn’t like working at all.

“Anyway, the good kid had a paper route. Everyday he walked from house to house on his street to deliver the paper to his neighbors. In the summer it was a long hot walk. He knew it would be easier to deliver his papers if he had a bicycle. So he saved most of his money for several months.

“Finally, after what seemed like forever, he had enough money to buy a nice used bike. Now he could deliver his newspapers in style. He would finish his paper route each day in less than half the time of what it used to take him. He began to think about getting another paper route so he could earn more money.

“With his new route and extra money, he saved up enough to get a horn.”

“A horn?” Misty asked.

“Yes,” Dad said. “You know the kind that have a rubber ball on one end that you squeeze to make a loud honking sound?”

“Oh, I’ve always wanted one like that,” Rusty said.

“One day he biked down the block to the hardware store with his money in his pocket. He finally had enough to buy the bike horn. Before he got to the store, Sonny stepped in front of him and stopped him.

“‘Where are you going all happy like that?’ Sonny asked.

“‘Just to the store,’ the boy said.

“‘Just to the store,’ Sonny sneered. ‘Why?’

“‘To get something for my bike,’ the boy said with a gulp.

“‘You really think you’re something with your fancy wheels, don’t ya’?’


“‘Well, you’re not. I’ve got a bike coming, too,’ Sonny said.

“The boy nodded, ‘That’s nice.’ He left the mean boy and parked his bike in front of the store. He went inside and found the shiny silver bike horn. He squeaked it quietly to make sure it worked. He took it to the counter and paid with his hard-earned cash.

“The clerk said, ‘I bet you’re going to have a lot of fun with this toy.’

“‘Yes,’ he said, while she put the horn in a bag. He added, ‘I need it for my paper route to scare away a mean dog.’

“‘Well, I hope it helps,’ she said, smiling.

“‘Thank you,’ he said. He took the bag with the bike horn and walked out the door.

“But his bike was gone.”

“What happened to it?” Misty asked.

Rusty said, “Sonny took it!”

“That’s pretty selfish,” Misty replied. “That’s so wrong.”

“Yes,” Dad said. “And it is also wrong to take the last of the cake when you know your sibling wants some, too.”

Rusty nodded.

“Let’s split it,” Misty said.

“Good idea. And just so it is fair, and no one fights over who gets which piece, let’s do this: one of you cut it and the other one choose the first piece. That way it gets split evenly and everyone is happy.”

“All right!” they both said.

Find out more about the stolen bike, next time.


Why do kids fight about things?
Because of selfishness

If we thought about others as more important than ourselves, would we ever fight?
No. Unless we were protecting someone we cared for.

If you wanted the last piece of cake and someone else did, too, what could you do?

Do you think the mean boy in Dad’s story was selfish? Why or why not?

If a person always complains about what they don’t have, are they selfish? What if they are truly poor, is it okay to complain then?

Both poor people and rich people can be selfish. What’s the difference?


Get an authentic chrome-plated bicycle Horn

Read the following scripture with the family:

Do not Take Care of Just Yourself

Luke 12:15-33

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.


What words did the rich man use to show you he has a selfish attitude?
I, I, my, I, I, I, my, my, I, my

Was he selfish because he planted a field? Because he had a good harvest? Because he enjoyed the food he’d planted? Because he kept it in a safe place? Or because he horded more than he could use himself?

William Barclay says that money is like sea water. The more you drink the thirstier you become. Do you think the rich man suffered from this?

What cure for selfishness does Jesus give in Luke 12:33?

How does generosity cure selfishness?

Selfish people see the world as if everything is running out. They don’t think there is enough food, clothes, toys, or money for everyone. How do generous people view the world? How does God view the world?

How can you determine if you are being selfish? Since we think so highly of ourselves, can we really determine whether we are being resourceful or selfish? How can an honest friend help us see our attitudes in a better light?

Role play: You love Twix candy bars. You haven’t had one for over five months. Someone gives you one. Your other friend likes Twix, too. She doesn’t know you have this snack. Should you hide it or share it?

What if you gave her the whole thing? What would God think of that?

Memory Verse

Philippians 2:4

Look not every man

on his own things,

but every man also

on the things of others.

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