Giving is a subject often preached upon in churches. Many adults need a reminder and admonition to practice giving regularly. Even though our children do not have a regular income (aside from a possible allowance), they still need to begin learning about what the Bible teaches about being a generous and sacrificial giver. This lesson focuses on the story of the poor widow who gave away all she had even though it was a meager two copper coins.
Bible Passage: Mark 12:41-44
Bible Story Title: A Generous and Sacrificial Giver
Target Age Group: K-5th graders
Target Time Frame:30 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Children’s Church or Sunday School
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Learning Objective: The children will learn what it means to give generously and sacrificially.
Materials Needed: Play money in small bills, pictures/clip art of items a child would want to buy (types of toys, favorite foods, vacations to Disney or a tropical place, etc.) with play prices included, pictures/clip art of ways to give money (church, a friend in need, a charity, a missionary, etc.)
- Pass out pre-designated amounts of play money to the children giving the children varying amounts.
- “I am passing out some money to all of you. You will not all receive the same amount. I first want each of you to count how much money you have.” Allow them time to count their money.
- “This morning you will get to use your play money to buy some pretend things you would like. You also can choose to give some of your play money away.”
- Lay the pictures of items to buy and ways to give out on a table or tape the pictures to the front chalkboard.
- “Each of you will come up to the front and choose some things you want to buy and then give me the money needed to buy it. You may also choose to take some of your money and give it away.”
- Each child will come up to buy and/or give.
- There will be one child you have chosen and spoken with ahead of time who will be given the smallest amount of money to begin the activity. Discuss with them ahead of time that they will not buy, but instead give all of their money away.
- After the completion of the activity, discuss with the children what occurred. Talk about how much money they had to start, what they chose to buy, and how much they chose to give away. Be sure to discuss with them the “why” and reason behind their choices. Talk about the child who was given the least, yet gave away everything.
- “Thinking about what we just experienced together, I want you open your Bibles to Mark chapter twelve. We are going to read a story about a woman who was a generous and sacrificial giver.”
- Read aloud verses 41-44.
- “In this passage, Jesus is observing what people were giving to the church. The rich people put in a lot of money and then a poor widow came to give two small copper coins which equaled one penny. Who do you think God appreciates more? The rich people who gave a lot or the poor widow who gave a penny?” Receive answers from the children.
- Reread verse 43. “Why does Jesus say the widow put in more than anyone else? Didn’t she only give one penny?” Receive answers from the children.
- “Jesus explains to us why in verse 44. The rich people, even though they may have put in a lot of money, it was still only a little bit of what they had. But, the widow gave everything she had to the church. She only had one penny and she gave away the whole penny.” Relate the rich people and poor widow back to what happened during the “hook” part of your lesson.
- “The poor widow gave generously and sacrificially. What do you think it means to give generously?” Receive suggestions from the children.
- “To give generously, means giving away your money without being concerned about having enough left over for yourself. Giving generously means you give a lot of what you have.”
- “What do you think it means to give sacrificially?” Receive suggestions from the children.
- “To give sacrificially, means we are not selfish with our money because we want to buy a new video game or doll. Instead we give up getting our new toy to give the money away to the church. We give away what we have as a sacrifice for what we want.”
- “What are some ways that you can give of what you have to others? It doesn’t just need to be money.” Take input from the children.
- “You can give some of your allowance to the offering plate on Sunday mornings. You could share your jump-rope or ball with a friend at school who wants to play with it. You could share your toys with your little brother or sister even when you want to be playing with your toys all by yourself. You can give away your time to help someone who needs you.”
- “God loves those who give generously and sacrificially.”
- For the “hook” activity, keep the play money in small amounts the children know how to count. For K-2, the money should be in ones and fives. For 3rd-5th, they can handle ones, fives, tens, and twenties. Keep the dollar amounts for the items to buy easy to count. For example, a child is given 10 one dollar bills to start. A vacation costs $5 and a stuffed animal costs $1. Then, the child has $4 left which they can keep or give a chosen amount away to a missionary or to church.
- There is no need to include a price on the ways to give as you want the children to have the freedom to give as much or as little as they choose.
- The ultimate goal of the activity is not to teach the children how to exchange money, but to think about how much they chose to give away versus how much they chose to spend. Keep it simple!