This is lesson continues our curriculum for preschoolers about knowing Jesus. Each lesson is based on a passage in the Gospel of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons.
This particular lesson is from passages in Mark 12:41-44 where Jesus praises a poor widow for her offering at the Temple. What matters most to God is the inner state of our hearts, not the outward appearance. Specifically, God is not focused on a specific amount of giving, but giving sacrificially with complete trust in Him.
Bible Passage: Mark 12:41-44
Bible Lesson Title: The Widow’s Offering
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 37 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Knowing Jesus through the Book of Mark: Lesson Twenty-Four (45 minutes)
Scripture: Mark 12:41-44
Exegetical Idea: Jesus honors a widow who gave all she had out of her poverty over the rich who gave abundantly out of their wealth.
Pedagogical Idea: What matters most to God is the inner state of our hearts, not the outward appearance. Specifically, God is not focused on a specific amount of giving, but giving sacrificially with complete trust in Him.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will know God values the motive of their hearts over an outward appearance of righteous, good behavior.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will desire to have pure hearts that trust in the Lord.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will memorize 1 Samuel 16:7 and worship God through song.
Memory Verse: 1 Samuel 16:7b, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (ESV)
- Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Put on Bible outfits; Supplies: Bible outfits, picture of a clam, one closed, one open, revealing a pearl (you could also bring a real clam and/or pearl or pearl necklace), picture of poisonous Delphinium flower: http://around-of-me.com/index.php?showimage=690
- God Revealed (10 minutes) Description: Experience the story. Supplies: Bible, cash or coins (real or fake), two pennies, a box to use as a treasury
- Personal Pursuit (20 minutes) Description: Applying the truth to their lives, make flowers and clams. Supplies: Pictures used in Kindle Curiosity, water colors (blue, purple, brown), white paper.
- Daily Knowing (7-10 minutes) Description: Worship God through song, memorize His Word, pray. Supplies: Song Give Me Clean Hands (link found in expanded section below), notecards for each parent with memory verse written out.
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
- Have the children put on their Bible outfits after they have all arrived.
- Show the picture of the flower. ASK: What do you see in this picture? (Allow time for responses.) This is a very beautiful flower!
- (Now show the picture of the clam.) ASK: What do you see in this picture? (Allow time for response.) Do you think the clam or the flower would be a better gift? (They hopefully choose the flower.) I am sure I would probably choose the flower if I didn’t know the truth about what was on the inside…
- SAY: Today Jesus is going to teach us that the outward appearance of someone can be a lie. The outward appearance of this flower is very beautiful, but on the inside this flower is poisonous! Now on the outside, this clam is very plain and seems to be worthless, but on the inside, there is a beautiful pearl (hold up picture of open clam or show an actual pearl or string of pearls.) Pearls are very valuable and beautiful. The outward appearance does not always show what is on the inside! God has something very important to teach us this morning about this truth.
2. God Revealed (15 minutes)
- SAY: Today our lesson comes from Mark chapter 12 (show them in your Bible.) This is the Bible. It is God’s Word. He wrote it, so we know everything in it is true. Let’s experience God’s truth together and see what He has to teach us!
- Read the passage in the translation of your choice: And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
- Act out the lesson. Choose one child to be the widow. Give this child the two coins. Give the other children the cash. Set out the treasury. Have them come up one by one to give money to the treasury. Allow the children to choose themselves how much to put in the treasury. Have the child playing the widow go last, putting her two coins. Then state Jesus’ observation, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes)
- (Consider writing comparisons between the widow and the rich on a marker or chalk board.) ASK: Who gave more money? (The rich) Why would Jesus say the widow gave more than they did? (Allow time for response.) SAY: The widow was giving sacrificially, meaning she gave up what was precious to her. She had nothing else besides these two coins! No money for food or clothing, but she trusted God to take care of everything!
- SAY: The rich gave some of the great wealth they had. It was not sacrificial giving. They wanted others to think they were righteous and good, but on the inside they were actually prideful and selfish. They were seeking to honor themselves, saying “look at me! Look at how good I am!” Instead of honoring God, saying, “Look to God! Look at how good He is!”
- SAY: We are going to paint flowers and clams to help remind us of the truth we have heard from Jesus today. Like this flower, the rich people looked good on the outside, but on the inside there was only sin and death, like the poison in this flower. The poor woman’s offering is like this clam, small and worthless on the outside. But because of her pure heart, it was beautiful in the sight of the Lord, like this pearl.
- Pass out the materials. As they are working, discuss with them this truth further:
- SAY: What Jesus saw was the heart of this woman. On the outside, her offering looked small and worthless. But on the inside she had a beautiful heart that completely trusted in the Lord, so much so that she was willing to give everything she had to Him, though she had no money to buy food. This is worth far more than all of the money the rich people put into the treasury.
- ASK: Would you be able to give up all you had, knowing you had no food, and trust in God?(Allow time for them to respond.) This must not have been easy for this woman! This was a great sacrifice! Mark tells us it was out of her poverty, all that she owned, and all she had to live on. But she had complete trust in our faithful and good God. She wanted to show her love and trust in Him, honoring Him with all that she had.
- As they finish, write on their flower pictures “The rich” and the clams “The Widow’s Offering”.
4. Daily Knowing (10 minutes)
- Note: You may have to cut the song or the memorization for the sake of time.
- SAY: Instead of having prideful, selfish hearts that show-off, pretending to be righteous, God desires you to be humble and pure, trusting Him completely with a heart full of love and worship. Let’s worship and worship Him now with pure hearts, seeking to honor Him and not ourselves.
- Sing together Give Us Clean Hands
- ASK: What can we do to remember the truth we learned from God’s Word today? (Memorize a verse!) That’s right! Let’s memorize together 1 Samuel 16:7, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Can you think of motions that would help us memorize this verse?
- SAY: We have pure hearts when we truly desire to honor God and not ourselves. This can mean choosing to obey your mom and dad rather than argue or complain. This can be worshipping through song every day. This can be spending time talking to Him each day instead of only spending time doing what you have planned. This can be choosing to love your brother and sister when you would rather be mad or mean to them. We can honor God in many ways with pure, selfless hearts. Honor Him this week! Let’s pray together that God would give us hearts that desire to be pure before Him.
- Make sure you review with them the next week or when you have encounters during the week one-on-one. Remind the parents how important it is for them to help their children review their verses all throughout the week. Encourage them to memorize the verse with their children. Provide each parent with a notecard that has 1 Samuel 16:7b written on it.