AGE APPROPRIATE: ELEMENTARY (7-11yr olds)
BIG IDEA: I CAN LOVE GOD WITH MY THINGS
AIM: The ‘Living to Love God with My Things’ lesson encourages children to think about how they might honor and love God with the things that he has given to them.
1. ‘Just Give Me Jesus’ by Shout Praises Kids
2. ‘Better than the Best Thing’ by Yancy
3. ‘Oh I Love Him’ by The Donut Man
1. Cash Dunk. Children use only their mouths to get money out of a tub full of water!
2. Sock Wars. Can the children grab their opponent’s sock before theirs is taken? That is the aim of this game.
3. Hanging Donuts. The child that can eat their donut first is the winner. The only problem is, they can’t use their hands, and the donut is hanging above them!
BIG VERSE: ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matthew 6:21.
SET the Scene:
Read Mark 12:41-44. You can also use this interpretation of the passage.
1. ‘The Widow’s Offering’ by LC LifeKids
2. ‘The Poor Widow’s Offering’
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1. OBJECT LESSON: I PUT GOD FIRST BEFORE THINGS
You will need an image of Mother Theresa and her feet.
Say: We can learn so much from the story of the Widow’s mite – her offering to God. Jesus pointed out that she gave everything that she had. She didn’t hold back. Jesus got all the disciples around him as they watched the widow. He said to them “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.” (Mark 12:43) Jesus wanted all his friends to see what she was doing!
Even though the widow didn’t have much, only ‘two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents’ (Mark 12:42) she gave what she had to give. Why? Because she loved God with her things. She used them to put God first. Things weren’t as important to her as God. She loved God more than she loved money or what she could buy with the money she had. She wanted to show God that she loved Him above anything else!
You may have heard of someone called Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was an amazing woman, just like the widow in our story. Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who felt God tell her to go to India and care for the many sick and poor people there. She cared for many many people because she knew God loves people and that gave her a love for them too. We can see many photos of Mother Teresa, but one of her most interesting features were her feet. Why? Because Mother Teresa’s feet were deformed. When shoes were donated to her organization, Mother Teresa would wait until everyone else had chosen their shoes. Once everybody had a pair she would be left with the shoes that did not fit her feet. Those were the shoes she would wear.
So Mother Teresa and the widow in our story both put God before things. They didn’t care about things or love things more than they loved God or people. Things; possessions and money, didn’t matter to them too much. I wonder, how are you putting God before things in your life? Do you share with others ? Do you put some of your allowance into the offering at your kids club or church? Do you let someone else take the bigger cookie or do you snatch it first? God loves it when we share our things and don’t keep them to ourselves because that shows that we love Him before things!
2. OBJECT LESSON: I GIVE BACK TO GOD BECAUSE HE HAS GIVEN TO ME
You will need a large piece of paper and marker, or a way of drawing on a computer software program as you talk and a way to project it.
Say: [draw a stick person on your medium of choice] What do you think of my drawing? It’s a person to represent you and me as individuals. I wanted to think about all the amazing things that God has given us. I wonder, can you help me write down all those things? There must be SO much! [get feedback and give promptings; think of physical possessions and spiritual gifts. For each answer write or draw it on the page or screen around the person.]
Wow! God has given us SO many amazing things! Just in the few things we have mentioned here we have thought of so much – and He keeps giving to us each and every day! He is such an amazing God! All these things come from God and because He has given us so much it is GREAT to be able to give Him some of it back. To say thank you, as praise and worship for who He is and what He has done!
The widow was at the temple to give back to God. Even though she had very little she understood that everything she had, or would ever have in the future came from God. She wanted to give back to God, just as God asks of us. Even though her offering to God was so good, God gave the greatest gift anybody can or will ever give. John 3:16 says ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ Jesus is the one who has given us everything he ever had, and everything we will ever need! His whole life was lived for God and given for us. Nothing we can give can ever be greater than what Jesus has given to us! When you think of everything Jesus has done for you, does that make you want to give back to him?
3. OBJECT LESSON: I GIVE ON PURPOSE
You will need accessibility to this video about a homeless man who was given a pizza and then shared it with someone else. For the benefit of any younger children you may need to read the words out that appear on the screen.
Say: Did you see how that homeless person gave away the little money he had been given – even when he didn’t have much himself! In the passage about the widow we see that the widow gave even though she didn’t have much. Those that were rich also gave, but they gave perhaps what they could afford. They did not give everything. As Jesus said, “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 14:44) The widow gave everything she had. The Message puts it like this, “All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.”
The widow gave on purpose. The passage says she ‘put in’ her money. She seems to have taken care and thought as she does it. Mark 12:41 says ‘Many rich people threw in large amounts.’ It sounds like they didn’t take too much care on how they put the money in. They ‘threw’ it in. Perhaps it didn’t mean that much to them in the first place. They had lots of money to spare, after all. God required that His people gave ten percent on what they earned. Maybe they gave the ten percent God required but nothing more. The widow wanted to show God how much she loved Him so she gave her all.
Have you given your all to God? Just as Jesus gave his life in obedience to God have you given yours also? Or are you just getting by doing the little you need to do. Are you just going through the motions, or do you really love God and want to give everything for Him?
SEARCH the Scriptures:
You will need music (and a way to play it) wrapping paper, scissors, tape, a bible, paper and markers to write bible verses and a gift.
PASS THE PARCEL GAME: Players pass around a gift wrapped in layers of wrapping paper. In between each layer place a candy and a bible verse for children to read. The music is played and when it stops the child holding the parcel rips off a layer of wrapping paper. When each child opens up their layer they can decide what to do with the candy and they read the bible verse.
The Bible on Giving:
Deuteronomy 15:10. ‘Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.’
Proverbs 3:27. ‘Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.’
Proverbs 11:24-25. ‘One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’
Proverbs 21:26. ‘All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.’
Matthew 6:1-4. Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’
Luke 6:30. ‘Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.’
Luke 6:38. ‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’
2 Corinthians 9:6-7. ‘Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.’
SENSE How You Feel:
Imagine you are one of the rich people throwing your money into the offering.
What are you thinking?
Imagine you are the widow.
Why are you giving?
Have the children work in pairs to interview each other. One child can be the interviewer as they ask their partner to represent the rich man or widow. They then swap parts until they have thought about how each of the people in the passage felt and what they were thinking.
You can then come together and discuss what they thought. Some of the children may also like to show everyone their interview if you have time.
Note: Remember, there are no wrong answers as long as the children do not change what the bible says!
You will need a selection of candy, enough to hand out to every child.
Hand out candy to the children. Ask them not to eat any of it, but to pray over it, asking God to help them give what they have to Him. Then get them to think about who they would like to give the candy to. It can be somebody in the room, or someone that they would like to give to after the session. Allow the children to hand out the candy if needed.
Remind the children that God loves it when we give and He loves a cheerful giver! ‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ 2 Corinthians 9:7.