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Christian Resources for Worship in Schools

Rags to Riches

St Francis is one of the most loved and well know saints: yet his story is a challenging one. In a world where many people are judged by what they have or how successful they are, Francis turns his back on it all to embrace the riches of knowing Jesus.

Opening Activity: Rags to Riches

There are lots of rags to riches stories—stories about people who started from very humble beginnings and worked hard or came into money to become rich. For example, fairy stories like Cinderella, Aladdin, Dick Whittington. Or real life figures like J.K. Rowling, Alan Sugar, Gordon Ramsey, Elvis Presley, Tom Cruise, etc. Choose a topical one or age-related example. These are people who went from rags to riches. Some people also go from riches to rags when they hit on hard times or become bankrupt.

Riches to Rags
The story of St Francis is a story of a riches to rags person. St Francis was from a very rich family. He enjoyed the playboy lifestyle, he loved parties and spending time with friends, leading a carefree life. One day though he didn’t something extraordinary. He stood in the market square and stripped off all his clothes. It was a symbol that he had had enough of his life and that he was giving up everything for Jesus. He lived a life of simplicity and poverty, and reached out to those in need. He began to reform the church, he inspired many people, he attracted many people by his holiness.

But in essence it was a rags to riches story but in another way—because he discovered the riches that come from knowing Jesus. His life, though stripped of many things, was full of joy. Francis above all was a joyful person. He knew how to rejoice in everything that God provided. Some of his prayers are still used today.

Growing to be Rich!
We may not be called to lead the same lifestyle as Francis—but we are called to be joyful, to be holy, not to allow things to get in the way of doing what God wants us to do. St Francis teaches us that. We may not grow up to be rich—but we will know the most valuable thing in the world—knowing Jesus, loving Jesus and living as he wants us to live.

Father, we thank you for Francis
who has shown us how to follow Jesus.
Help us to be as joyful as he was
and to reach out to those in need.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Also Check Out

Useful Links

BBC Website Article
Wikipedia ‘Rags to Riches’
Society of St Francis

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