Pastor's wife: 'The money wasn’t real, but fun while it lasted'


Brody won almost $6,000 last week in Sunday School.  Cash was the next top winner with $5,800.  The money was flowing freely.  Caleb made $3,107, Gavan: $1,638, Sky: $1,156, and on and on.  Poor Hannah ended up with only $707, but it was more than she had walked in with.  I told them “It PAYS to go to Sunday School.”

OK, the money wasn’t real and they had to give it all back, but it was fun while it lasted.

On Sunday mornings, our youth class has been studying the life of Joseph in Genesis 37.  What a mess.  Talk about dysfunction. Explaining Joseph’s family tree sounded like a reality show.  His father, Jacob, loved the beautiful Rachel and worked for seven years to have her as his wife.  But he was tricked into marrying the wrong woman — Rachel’s sister Leah —  and didn’t find out until the morning after the wedding.  Try telling that to a bunch of middle and high schoolers.  And then there’s the part where Rachel couldn’t have children and told Jacob to sleep with her handmaid, Bilhah, so she could build a family through her.  Leah matched her sister’s move.  She also had a handmaid, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob to have more children.  With a serious face but big eyes, I listed all the women and children on a white board. 

Many boys by many mothers caused life to be tense at Jacob’s tent, but he seemed clueless.  The richly ornamented robe he made Joseph served as a flashing, neon sign of favoritism.  “I love Joseph most,” it blared.  Everyone saw it. 

Last week’s lesson revealed Joseph’s dreams, which stoked the flame of his brother’s jealousy.  Jealousy turned to resentment, then to anger, and finally action.  We ended with Joseph in the cistern as the brothers sat down to eat. 

This past Sunday Joseph was brought out of the pit and sold into slavery for 20 shekels of silver.  The kids were shocked that the brothers killed a goat, dipped Joseph’s coat in it, and deceived their father.  One sin begat another.  Instead of getting rid of Joseph, they made him a martyr.  Jacob declared he would go to his grave mourning his treasured son.  Joseph — still very much alive — went from the favorite to a slave, a sheltered life to a pagan city, ending up at Potiphar’s house.  Most of our Sunday school students don’t yet have a clue what lies ahead for Joseph. 

After applying all the Bible drama to our lives today, we used key words of the story to play Bible-O.  It’s a favorite.  With every four-in-a-row, guys and girls drew different dollar amounts from the fake money bag.  They counted it up at the end and were rich for a few moments.  Then they gave it all back for us to use another day. 

I have so many hopes and prayers for these 6th-12th graders.  Studies show many teens stop going to church after high school graduation.  The weight is heavy for their teachers and leaders.  Oh, how we want them all to always love and walk with Jesus.

At the beginning of class, I had reminded them of Hebrews 4:12: “God’s Word is alive and active.”  I hope they will remember that.

Next Sunday they will learn about Potiphar’s wife.  Mercy!

Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at