The Widow's Mite and other Offering scriptures


Summary of Workshops:
 

  • Art – “Widow’s Mite” Make stewardship banks. (Adaptation post.)
  • Computer - Play & Learn Children’s Bible and Powerpoint of - Abraham and Isaac.
    (Volunteer Moderator suggests using Abraham & Sarah from Sunday Software instead).
  • Cooking - Flower Pot Cupcakes
  • Drama - Have fun using puppets
  • Games – Play Wheel of Fortune
  • Movie – Watch “Adventures from the Book of Virtues-Generosity”
  • Science – do an experiment about growth in action
  • Storytelling – Read “A Penny is Everything” (Arch Series), Concordia, 1974, 9780570060840.  Moderator adds:  book is discontinued, but still found on-line.  It's also been replaced by "The Widow's Offering" (Arch Series), 2008, 9780758614513.
    Note:  no lesson plan for Storytelling.

Memory verse:  “for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7b NRSV 


Bible Background:

 
Scripture Offerings:

  • Genesis 4:1-11
  • Genesis 22:1-18
  • Amos 2:6-8; 5:21-24; (Micah 6:8)
  • Mark 12:41-44

These scattered selections of scripture have in common the offering to God in response to God’s gracious gifts. Each passage understands that a person brings to the giver what has first been given or entrusted. The offering is an indication of the relationship with The Giver. (Note Cain vs. Able or the rich vs. the widow)

GEN. 4:1-11 (Cain & Abel Offerings)
Cain and Able both bring offerings from their work (an offering of their own lives). Is the difference that Cain works the land (farms) while Able works with the animals (shepherds)? Or is there indication in the story of the quality of the gift? Is it hard to imagine the Lord “rejecting” or ‘honoring’ gifts? Did Cain plan to get ‘rejected’ by his choice of a gift? How does this connect with your own offerings? Is it a contradiction that at the time of worship, the time of meeting God, Cain’s anger erupts? How do our lives replay this story in regards to our siblings? How do our gifts of time, money, talent (LIFE!) reflect our connection with The Giver?

The Lord inquires: “Where is Able, your brother?” Cain’s infamous question-response “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cries for a loud answer: “YES!” This is exactly who we are! This is who the designer created us to be. We are our brother’s keeper. We are created to be our neighbor’s keeper. Any parables come to mind which illustrate this concept? Any verses? Who are keepers in your life? Your students’ lives?

The emotions of anger, shame, guilt and denial are all threaded into the character of Cain. Yet knowing the darkness of his being, God continues to care and protect him (as the story continues).

“Damage goes back beyond any obvious deed. A famous criminal lawyer is reported to have said in a newspaper interview: ‘Everybody is a potential murdered. I have not killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction out of obituary notices.’ Trouble begins with a twisted thought in the mind and a grudge hidden in the heart.” The Interpreter’s Bible vol. I, p., 518

GEN. 22:1-18 (Abraham's Offering of Isaac)
The story seems strange and even frightening to our minds. To prepare, to intend, to travel carrying the burden of such a plan, seems an immense load on the psyche for Abraham and even Isaac (?) (Though his innocent question in v 7 suggest he does not know of his father’s intentions).

Why would the author place a story of child sacrifice in this book? Why would the OT “curriculum committee” include it in the Bible? Look at God’s role for an answer. God provides versus kills.

A second reason is the contrast with the Canaanite neighbors and their gods or idols. The Canaanites practiced child and adult sacrifice. This was especially true of the “eldest” son. (Note II Kings 3:27 which dates from about 800 b.c.) Now as you reflect on this story, what does it say about human sacrifice? What does it say about the difference sought in the actions of the worshippers of God? How would you tie this with the description of God as a God of Life (Gen 2:7)?

As Easter People we often view the OT in the light of Christ. In that light the potential sacrifice of Abraham’s long awaited son seems to ring as a prelude to God’s Son being sacrificed. (Theologians can argue the sacrifice of Jesus through many volumes)

Continuing the theme of offering: What is Abraham willing to do? What does his response to God’s direction to sacrifice Isaac say about his relationship to God? Remember he was about 100 yrs old when Isaac was born. This long awaited, treasured, only child is the one Abraham is told to sacrifice. (What do you expect was the conversation between Sarah and Abraham when she found out Abraham’s intention? She is the person, who laughed at the idea of having this child, now do you think she is laughing? He has already dragged her out of her home town ((Basra of Iraq or Ur of the Chaldees)) and away from her family and now God tells Abraham to take her only child away.)

Our Bishop Jon Anderson quoted someone who wanted to add two words to the 1st Article of the Creed. It would then read: “I believe in God the Father almighty, creator and owner of heaven and earth.” “And owner” helps us to view our treasured ‘possessions’ in a way that indicates who is the owner. -- How does this understanding help us to bring our gifts back to the Giver?

Think about Abraham’s faith statement in v. 8. One looks humbly in the light of such trust. Where do you see that level of trust in your world? How would a person grow to that level of trust? What are you doing to cultivate that growth? What would help your students grow?

Our lives are not lived in the clarity that we often want. We ‘see through a glass dimly’. We trust and make steps forward leaning of the God who in the past has been faithful often wondering if God will still be faithful today. The devil fills us with doubt and worry. Our God is not a god of doubt and worry. Confidence in God’s benevolence allows us to step into the future ‘in faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Lutheran Book of Worship p. 153

AMOS 5:21-24, 2:6-8  (Amos' Call to us to offer our gifts)
Amos was a shepherd. He lived in the 8th century b.c. His home was south of Bethlehem in the hilly, barren country west of the Dead Sea. It was a time of prosperity. People felt that they were the favored worshippers of a very powerful God. God was good to them so their duty was to worship. Elaborate feasts and sacrifices made God a participant in their prosperity.

Amos challenges this “comfortable” understanding of the God of Israel. Amos sees God as a stern and exacting God who the inspires awe. Amos has seen God’s power in the destructive power of nature. God’s voice could be heard in the crashing of thunder or as the earth shuddered in the terrifying earthquake.

Amos’s message is one of impending gloom. God will bring punishment upon their neighbors and also upon them. The punishment is due to ruthlessly seeking wealth, of oppression of the poor, and of a lust that knew no bounds. During this time the courts were unmerciful to the poor sending them into slavery for insignificant debts. Irrevocable doom was coming.

Amos message confronts us with our lives. Do we live with justice to the poor? Do we enact laws that bring justice to the weak? Does our economy support the needy? Why do we ignore homeless children in Minnesota? In the last month 118 people received 1800 pounds of food from St. James’ food shelf. This happens while Augustana’s food basket sits empty.

At the beginning of his ministry Jesus sets forth his goals in Luke 4:18. The goals are to be a bringer of “good news to the poor, release to the captives, bring sight to the blind and let the oppressed go free”. Amos is calling us to offer our gifts and our selves in the same fashion as Jesus.

MARK 12:41-44  (Widow's Mite)
Note 12:38-40. Jesus is warning about the scribes. They are hypocrites. They pretend to be what they are not and “devour widows’ houses…” Their lives practice what Amos preached against: trampling on the poor and selling those in poverty into slavery.

In the temple of Jerusalem there was a large treasury box. Here offerings were given for the poor. It had trumpet like horns extending out from the box. The “scribes and the Pharisees” would place their offerings into the brass horns and the brass horns would make much noise as the many coins were clanging down to the box. A great contrast in lack of noise and show when this widow puts in two small coins.

The thinking of that day was that if you were rich, you were blessed by God. So if you were rich you could flaunt your “blessing” by making much noise and show of your offerings.

Jesus looks at the widow who gave “all she had to live on”. He sees a person who is so trusting of the God “who provides” that she is willing share all that God has trusted to her. Does this remind you of Abraham and Isaac? Her gift is “more” because it shows 100% trust. She gave her next meal – her “lunch money” – as a thank-offering to the God that has given her life.

What we put in the offering plate is usually money. In order to earn that money we invest our time, effort, talent and training. The money represents our very life. So when we give an offering, we are bringing back to God our lives that God has first given to us.

How do we give? What would be something you hold so dear that would compare to this widow’s gift? How do you show love and trust in God by your offering? How might your students show that trust?


Written by Pastor Dean from: Augustana Lutheran Church,
St. James, Minnesota

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Original Post

The Widow's Mite

Art Workshop

“How Great Thou Art”
Grades K-2

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Making stewardship banks.

Lesson Objectives:

The children will learn:

  • That the widow gave from a generous and cheerful heart
  • That she put all her trust in God to take care of her.
  • How to be a good steward (manager) of their money
  • Make stewardship banks

Leader Preparation:

  1. Read the scripture passage and Bible Background
  2. Familiarize yourself with the art project before you teach it


Supplies List:

  • Regular Bible and The Beginner’s Bible
  • Short individual potato chip cans like Pringles, 3 for each child
  • Construction paper, multi colored, pre-cut to go around cans
  • Colored markers
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue
  • Raffia, enough to tie around all 3 cans at once and make a bow
  • Sharp utensil to cut “coin slots” in the plastic covers of each can
  • Play money
  • Large rubber bands such as go around a Sunday paper
  • White labels for cans (self adhesive computer labels?)

 



Presentation


Openin
g - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome the children as they arrive. Tell them that we are going to start off the new Sunday School year with a new theme. Last year’s was, Best Friends, Blessed Friends, and this year’s is, Come Join the Circle. To start off the circle of Bible characters that we will meet this year is a very humble and generous woman that we know only as a “widow”. What is a widow? (Allow time for answers.) Before we meet this widow, let us begin with prayer.

Dear God, we ask that you be with us today as we begin a new Sunday School year. Help us to be good listeners as we hear today’s story about a widow. Show us how to live our lives in the circle of God’s family. And all God’s children say, AMEN.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:


Read Story: The Beginner’s Bible pp. 433-436

After reading the story, begin a short discussion of it with the following ideas.

What was different about the widow’s gift compared to the rich givers?

The widow was very poor. The other people had plenty of money. The widow gave only a few pennies but the rich people gave many dollars. The rich people didn’t need the money they gave; it was extra. The widow gave all the money she had.

Jesus said the widow’s gift was bigger than all the others. How can that be?

Jesus was thinking about the effect the gift had on the giver when he said this. For the widow, the gift was everything she had. She could not give any more even if she wanted to. She had to trust God to take care of her now. But for the rich people, it was just a little bit of what they had.

Jesus said that made the widow’s gift much more valuable even though in dollars it was not worth as much as what the rich people gave.

Is giving money the only thing that we have to give? No, we can give anything we have: our time, our talents or abilities.

What might be some examples of this? Allow for any answers, visiting the sick, singing in a choir, helping someone with a chore, sending a card, etc.

Activity:
SAY: Today we are going to make banks to help us be good stewards (managers) of our money. Even though you are a child, you still have opportunities to receive money. Sometimes we get an allowance, or we do a special job that our parents or grandparents pay us a little money. Sometimes it is our birthday, or Christmas or another special day that we receive some money.

Can any of you think of a time when you have gotten money? (Allow for a short time of sharing.)

  1. Distribute 3 bank cans to each child. You should already have cut the slots for the coins in the lids.
  2. Give each of them 3 pieces of construction paper to decorate. It might be better to have the construction paper cut to fit the can below where the lids fit on to the cans so that the paper isn’t ripped when putting the lids on and off. Depending on the age of the children, you might want to have already printed the labels: GIVING, SAVING, SPENDING on the construction paper. The older kids should be able to label their own banks. It’s up to you.
  3. As you are working, talk about how it is a good idea to save some of your money and they can talk to their parents about how much to save. God asks us to give some of our money to the work of the church and He tells us in the Bible that we should give one tenth of what we have. So if we have a dollar, He would like to see us give a dime of that dollar, or 10 cents as our offering to Him on Sunday morning. So then we know how much to put in the bank that is labeled, GIVING. How much was that? (Yes, 10 cents for every dollar. So if we have 2 dollars, we would put in 20 cents. Understand? Allow time for that.)
  4. After we know how much to give to God, and how much to save, then we can put the rest in the spending bank.
  5. Scotch tape the decorated and labeled construction paper around the cans.
  6. Glue the sides of the cans together
  7. Place a large rubber bank around the 3 cans
  8. Tie several lengths of raffia around the cans to cover the rubber band and make a bow.


If there is time after making the banks, the children can practice with the play money, determining how they would split up the money to go in each bank.

You could revisit the story and ask them again to think about how the widow put ALL her money in the offering. Would they ever be able to do that and to do it with a happy heart?

It really was an amazing gift that she gave!

Just let the children know that God never has asked us to give all that we have, but he does expect something in return just as we talked about earlier. We want them to remember that the next time that they come to Sunday School and we pass around the offering plate. We want them to give with a thankful and a cheerful heart. “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2Cor.9:7.

Journal Activity: Draw the widow’s coins. Incidentally the term “mite” just refers to a small offering. The actual name of the Jewish coin she probably used is “lepton”.

Closing:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching us about how important it is to give with a generous and cheerful heart like the widow in the Bible story. Thank you for all the gifts that you have cheerfully given us, even more than we need. And all God’s children say, AMEN.


Resources:

  • The Beginner’s Bible, Zonderkids, Copyright 2005, Mission City Press, ISBN: 0-310-70962-8

 

Lesson prepared by Kathy from: Augustana Lutheran Church,
St. James, MN

Offerings - Abraham and Isaac AND The Widow’s Mite

Computer Workshop - The Church Mouse

 Grades K-2

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses a powerpoint and the Play and Learn Software.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Have the students work with two events from the Bible—the story of the offering Abraham was willing to give to God (Genesis 22:1-18) and another story of a poor widow who did give all she had to God. (Mark 12:41-44).
  • Show the students that we give offerings because God gives us everything in the first place.
  • Memorize: 2 Corinthians 9:7b NRSV

Supplies List:

  • A shepherd or another helper – especially for the Kindergarteners
  • Software— "Play & Learn Children’s Bible" (one for each computer)
  • Power Point presentations put on each computer adapted from http://www.bibleforchildren.org/ - English - #4 God's Promise to Abraham &  #5 God Tests Abraham's Love & #5 God Tests Abraham's Love (PPoint)

    Volunteer Moderator Notes: for software for the Abraham & Isaac story use Sunday Software's - Abraham & Sarah CD-ROM which includes a great section on "The Near Sacrifice of Isaac" and is great for the older children.  Added August 2013.

  • The Bible for Children by Walt Wangerin, Jr. ISBN 052911699-5
  • Bible for each student - TEV
  • Journals
  • Pencils, markers and/or colors
  • Crossword puzzle sheets available if the lesson runs short.

 
Teacher Prep:

  1. Read and review the Bible Background as prepared by Pastor Dean and all the corresponding Bible verses.
  2. Preview the software before September 10th, taking copies home or previewing in the Computer Lab and becoming comfortable so you can help the students.
  3. Have the computers on, the power point loaded on the desktop and the Children's Bible software in the cd drive.
  4. Please feel free to make any changes you want.

 



Presentation


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children warmly and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students every week who may not know you. Please also keep in mind that despite most kindergarteners being very computer savvy, there may be some who are confused and need that extra helping hand.

Bible Verse: Let’s say the Bible verse for this month together before we pray: what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Pray something like this: Heavenly Father, Thank you for your precious book, the Bible. Help us to get to know some of the special people in your book a little better. Help us to learn how we can show how much we love you. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

SAY: Today we are going to be studying about people from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. First of all we will hear about the story of Abraham and his son, Isaac from the Old Testament. Then we will fast forward over 2000 years to a time when Jesus was living here on earth and a lesson he wanted to teach us.

Questions:

  1. Who knows what an offering is? [an offering is giving something back to God like money, time or talents]
  2. Do we give offerings here? [yes, both in church and during opening of Sunday School]
  3. What kind of offerings are they? [money]
  4. What other kind of an offering can you give? [let the students discuss the kinds of offerings they can give – their time to help a friend, their voices to sing songs during worship and Sunday School opening, etc.]
  5. Do you think that God needs our offerings? [let them talk about this one and try to bring it around to the fact that everything we have comes from God in the first place and it is for our benefit that we give an offering]


SAY: In the Old Testament, God asked people to give offerings of their animals. After Jesus’ Resurrection, God doesn’t ask us to do that any more. The story of Abraham and Isaac is an unusual story because God asks Abraham to give his only son Isaac as an offering. Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending and Isaac wasn’t killed.

READ: from Walt Wangerin’s “The Bible for Children” page 41 “The Family starts with Abraham”.

SAY: It took many, many years and Abram and Sarai did not think that God would ever give them a son. All this time they continued to follow what God wanted them to do.

READ: Page 42 “God’s Promises to Abram” read through 9 (Now the Lord God did more than merely speak his promise . . . . .)

READ: Page 49 “A Son for Abraham—Isaac” and “God Tests Abraham”

SAY: Now let's go to the computers and take a look at the same story on there.

Abraham & Isaac Computer Time:
Note: The students will be using a Power Point Presentation of this story. That should be loaded on the desktop. They may need some help getting started. Have the students take turns reading if this is an option for the grade level.

Power Point presentation put on each computer adapted from
http://www.bibleforchildren.org/ - #4 God's Promise to Abraham &  #5 God Tests Abraham's Love (PPoint)

Volunteer Moderator Notes: for software for the Abraham & Isaac story use Sunday Software's - Abraham & Sarah CD-ROM which includes a great section on "The Near Sacrifice of Isaac".  Added August 2013.

 
Questions:

  • What was the promise God made to Abraham? [that he would have many descendents]
  • What is a descendent? [a child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc.]
  • As Abraham and Sarah continued to get older did it look like this was going to happen? [no]

SAY: Abraham still trusted God. Why do you think Abraham trusted God so much? [God had never lied to Abraham or done anything to make Abraham not trust Him]

  • How do you suppose Abraham felt when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac? [he was probably very sad and probably confused too]

SAY: Abraham still trusted God with the life of Abraham's most precious possession – his son Isaac. Abraham was willing to give Isaac to God as an offering.

  • As I told you earlier, this story does have a happy ending. Tell me what the ending is. [God sends an angel to stop Abraham from killing Isaac and then they find a ram caught in the bushes that they use as their offering to God.]

SAY: Abraham knew that God had given Isaac to him to love and care for a short time on this earth just like all we have comes from God.

The Widow's Mite -
SAY:  In the story of Abraham and Isaac, we learned about Abraham's obedience to what God asked him to do. Now we are going to hear about a woman who gave a big little offering to God just because she loved Him so very much.

READ: Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 from the Bible encouraging the students to follow along.

SAY: In the time that Jesus walked on earth, the Jews were instructed to give to the Temple (church) and to the poor as part of their service to God. So are we. One day Jesus sat at the Temple and watched people putting their money into the offering boxes. Some of the really rich people gave lots of money and wanted everyone to see how much they gave. Some gave money but were not happy about giving it. Then a poor woman, a widow, came up to the boxes.
The poor woman put two of the smallest coins there were in the offering box. The disciples with Jesus weren't very impressed, but Jesus said this woman has given more than any other today. How could that be? Jesus said it was because it was all she had.

How did the woman think she would buy dinner that night? She trusted God to provide for her. She obeyed God's command, knowing that He would fulfill His promise to care for her in return. We must trust God, the same way. Matthew 6:33 says: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (food, clothes, etc.) will be added to you."

Widow's Gift Computer Time – Help the students get the PLAY & LEARN Children's Bible software running from the "d" drive.

  • Run
  • Bible Stories
  • Jesus Teaches
  • A Woman's Big – Little Gift
  • Would you like us to read the story to you? No


A Woman's Big Little Gift

READ:

  • Do you see that poor woman? Jesus sees her: Jesus' friends see her too. The poor woman is giving money at God's house. She is giving two little coins. That's not much to give, is it?
  • Do you see those rich men? Jesus sees them. Jesus' friends see them too. The rich men are giving money at God's house. They are giving many, many big coins. That's a lot to give, isn't it?
  • "The poor woman is giving more than the rich men," Jesus says. His friends are surprised. How can two little coins be more than many big coins? What does Jesus mean?
  • "The poor woman is giving all she has," Jesus tells his friends. "The rich men have MUCH left. That is why she is giving more than they." Jesus wants us to give our best to him. You will, won't you?


Questions:

  1. Did the rich men give a lot of money? [yes]
  2. Did they have any left after they gave their offering to the church? [yes]
  3. Did the widow have a lot of money? [no]
  4. Did the widow have a lot left after she gave her offering to the church? [no]
  5. How were the rich men going to buy food for supper? [they had plenty of money left over to buy supper with]
  6. How was the widow going to buy food for supper? [She didn't know but she trusted that God would take care of all her needs.]
  7. What things do we have that we can give as an offering? [our time to help others, give some of our allowance to the Sunday School offering, teach others about Jesus]
  8. How do you think God uses the money we give to the church? [it pays for our pastor, buys lesson materials so we can learn more about Jesus and also teach other about Jesus, it helps other people (like the widow) who are in need.
  9. Why do you think it's so important that we tell others about Jesus? [Encourage the children share their thoughts. The bottom line should be that we want to also share the joy of heaven with the people we love after our life here on earth is over]

SAY: God knows what's in our hearts when we give our offerings. He knows if we are giving to make a big show like the men in the story with Jesus or if we are giving our offerings because we love God.

Journal time:
Help the students write this month's Bible verse on the top of their journal page: “for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7b NRSV

SAY: Abraham was willing to give to God one thing that he treasured more than anything else on earth—his son Isaac. The widow in the story gave all of her money to the offering. Think of one thing [or more] that you would find really hard to part with if you knew that was what God was asking of you and draw a picture of it.

Closing:


Encourage the students to come back next week when they’ll have a new room and to bring a friend with them who does not go to church or to Sunday School.
Ask if anyone has any special prayer requests and incorporate that into the closing prayer. Remind the children to also remember those requests during the week during their prayer time.

Closing prayer: Use this or something of your own.
Dear Lord,
Thank you Heavenly Father for sending your Son to die for us. Thank you for being with us as we follow you and trust you to take care of us.
Hear our prayers as we bring before you . . . . . . . .
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Extra time:
Pass out coloring sheets/puzzles for the students or let them play some of the activities on the Children's Bible CD.


 

A lesson written by Diane from: Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, Minnesota

The Widow's Mite

Cooking Workshop - "Our Daily Bread"

Grades K-2

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Making "Flower Pot Cupcakes"

Lesson Objective:

Learn about the spirit (attitude) of joy in giving that God wants to see in our hearts. Discover what happens when we cheerfully bring offerings to God and share what we have with others.


Supplies List:

  • Bibles and student journals,
  • napkins,

ingredients for “Flower Pot Cupcakes”:

  • § 1 box of cake mix, any flavor
  • Flat-bottomed ice cream cones
  • White frosting
  • Large gumdrop disks, such as Sunkist Gourmet Fruit Gems (one 14-oz. bag can decorate 5 or more cupcakes.)


Teacher Preparation:

  1. Prepare the cake batter according to the directions on the box.
  2. Fill the narrow bottom of each ice-cream cone with the batter.
  3. Set the cones on a baking sheet and transfer and place in the oven, being careful not to tip them over.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick put into the center comes out clean. Cool. (One box of cake mix makes about 34 cupcakes.)
  5. Decorate one “flower pot cupcake” as an example for the students.


Presentation

Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us all we need to live each day. Thank you for safe, warm homes, for good food to eat, and clothes to wear. Most of all, thank you for the gift of life. Help us to share our talents and gifts with others. In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Scripture:  II Corinthians 9:6-10. (Read aloud to the students or have them take turns reading these verses aloud.)

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

SAY: These verses are part of a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinthians. What was he trying to say to them? (Accept all answers—we are to give freely and generously. God wants us to give with a happy heart!)

SAY: Paul used the word “generosity.” What does that mean? (Accept all answers.) Generosity is “a willingness to give.” A generous person “gives freely.”

Paul said that when people give, it is like sowing (planting) seeds, and the seeds will grow. When people give, everything grows. There is enough for everyone! The people who receive the gifts are filled with gratitude. People who give become even happier!

To help us remember that when we give, God makes things grow, we are going to make “Flower Pot Cupcakes.”

Student Activity: Create flowers “growing” from flower pot cupcakes.flower-cupcake-in-a-cone

  1. Frost the cupcakes.
  2. Demonstrate how to make “candy flowers” to the students.
  3. Help the younger students, as needed.
  4. To make each candy flower, cut 6 wedges from the edges of a gumdrop disk.
  5. Cut a green gumdrop disk into slices for leaves.
  6. Press the wedges into the middle of the cut flowers for flower centers, then arrange the candies on top of the frosted cupcakes.

SAY:  When you are kind and share, good things will grow out of your lives, just like the flowers are growing out of these cupcakes.

Journal Time/Apply the Lesson
READ aloud Genesis 2:1b-7 to the students, preferably from TEV or from a Children’s Bible.

ASK: Which of these brothers gave his offering with a cheerful heart? (Abel gave the best that he had, from the first animals that he raised.)

*READ the story of the Widow’s Mite to the children, from TEV or from a Children’s Bible. (If time is short, read only this story.)

ASK: Why did God say that the widow’s offering was special? (She gave all she had.)

Pass out the student’s journals.
Draw or write about some ways that you can give cheerfully and help others, or help God’s church. (Hint: we often think of giving money or things, but there are other ways we can give. God asks us to give to the poor, as well as to the work of His church.)

Allow the students to take their cupcakes home, or say a table prayer and invite them to eat together.

Closing:

End with a prayer.


Resources:

familyfun-recipes (link no longer works) - so replaced with below link

https://holidayspage.net/flower-cupcake-cone/


A lesson written by Kirsten from: Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, Minnesota

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The Widow's Mite

Drama Workshop - “The Book of Acts"

Grades 3-6

Concepts:

  • A gift is special when it is a sacrifice.
  • An offering can be money, time or talents.


Lesson Objectives:

  • This lesson will focus on helping children understand the “spirit of giving”. Jesus taught that the widow’s gift was more valuable because she was sacrificing so much to give it. This suggests that our gifts are more special, too, when we sacrifice or “give up” something.
  • Children will explore this idea of “giving up” (sacrificing) in their gifts to others.
  • They will also discuss that gifts are not always money or presents, but can be time or a talent shared with someone as well.
  • Have fun using puppets.

 


Leader Preparation:

  1. Read the scripture passage and Bible Background
  2. Familiarize yourself with the lesson before Sunday


Supplies List:

 



Presentation


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome the children as they arrive. Tell them that we are going to start off the new Sunday School year with a new theme. Last year’s was, Best Friends, Blessed Friends, and this year’s is, Come Join the Circle. To start off the circle of Bible characters that we will meet this year is a very humble and generous woman that we know only as a “widow”. What is a widow? (Allow time for answer.)Before we meet this widow, let us begin with prayer.

Dear God, we ask that you be with us today as we begin a new Sunday School year. Help us to be good listeners as we learn about today’s story and how we can apply it to our daily lives. Show us how to live our lives as witnesses to your truth. And all God’s children say, AMEN.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Read Story: Mark 12: 41 – 44

  1. After reading the story, begin a discussion of it with the following ideas. What was different about the widow’s gift compared to the rich givers? The widow was very poor. The other people had plenty of money. The widow gave only a few pennies but the rich people gave many dollars. The rich people didn’t need the money they gave; it was extra. The widow gave all the money she had. Jesus said the widow’s gift was bigger than all the others. How can that be? Jesus was thinking about the effect the gift had on the giver when he said this. For the widow, the gift was everything she had. She could not give any more even if she wanted to. But for the rich people, it was just a little bit of what they had. Jesus said that made the widow’s gift much more valuable even though in dollars it was not worth as much as what the rich people gave.
  2. This would be a good time to introduce the word “sacrifice”. Help the children understand that a sacrifice is something that requires the giver to “give up” something. The giver is not just giving something unneeded or unimportant to them. We probably have to do without something because of what we give.
  3. Is giving money the only things that we have to give? No, we can give anything we have: our time, our talents or abilities. What might be some examples of this? Allow for any answers, visiting the sick, singing in a choir, helping a younger child with homework, sending a card, etc.


Application:
Note: there are 5 short skits rather than one longer script. Each skit has 2 characters. If time is a problem, or class size, one or two skits could be eliminated, or children can act out more than one.

  1. Give each child a skit script and 2 puppets.
  2. Allow the groups a few minutes to practice their script.
  3. After each skit, the teacher could ask the puppet a question about some aspect of the skit. The puppets should respond. (Ex. Speaking directly to the puppet “Don’t you wish you could spend that money on something for yourself?")
  4. At the end of each skit, ask the performers to sit down and have a brief discussion about which gift in the skit would be considered ‘special’, ‘best’, or ‘most valuable’ by Jesus based on the “Widow’s Mite” story.
  5. Act out the subsequent skits allowing time for a brief discussion at the end of each.


Spend a few minutes talking about how sacrificial giving makes the giver feel. Ask the children how they feel when they give a gift they have made or they have earned the money to buy. Do they feel differently when they have been involved in the giving in these ways rather than a parent just buying something for them to give?

Journal Activity:
Ask the children to write the name of a friend at the top of the page and the name of a relative about half way down the page. Below these names, ask the children to write at least 3 gifts they could give to this person that they would not buy at a store.

Closing:

Dear Jesus, Thank you for teaching us how important it is to offer our gifts of time, talents, and money to do your work among your people. Help us to see ways that we can give to others that do not involve money. Lord, help us to be generous and cheerful givers. And all God’s children say, AMEN.


Resources:


 

A lesson written by Kathy from: Augustana Lutheran Church,
St. James, MN

The Widow's Mite

Games/Missions Workshop - "Abraham’s Arcade"

Grades 3-6

Lesson Objectives:

  • To show the students that trusting God sometimes means giving up something that is important to us.
  • To have the students think about some of the talents they have been blessed with.
  • To show the students that there are other ways of giving besides giving money.

Supplies List:

  • “Wheel of Fortune” wheel
  • Paper cups
  • Chalkboard or large white paper
  • Markers
  • Big bag of Skittles

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Go Over the game.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome the students when they arrive. Tell them that this month we are going to talk about offerings and giving to the church. Why are offerings important? How do you know what amount to give in your offering? Are some people’s offerings better than others? Today’s story talks about a widow and the offering she gave. But first let’s begin with prayer.

Open with a prayer: Dear God, thank you for all the things you have given to us. Help us to be generous in our giving to you. And all God’s children said: AMEN.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Read the story:

Start by reading Mark 12: 38-40. Why does Jesus say that these men will be punished the most severely?

Explain to the class that in the temple of Jerusalem there was a large treasury box. This box was used to give offerings to the poor. It had trumpet like horns extending out from the box. When wealthy people placed their offerings into the brass horns, the horns would make a lot of noise with all of the coins clanging down into the box.

It was thought at this time that if you were rich, you were blessed by God. So a rich person could show off their “blessing” by making lots of noise when they put their offering in the box.

Next read mark 12: 41-44. Why does Jesus say that the widow put MORE into the treasury box than all the others?

Tell the students that it is important to understand that the widow not only gave up her possessions, she also showed her trust in God. By giving everything she had, she risked the possibility of not being able to buy her next meal. But she trusted that God would provide for her.

Activity:

Tell the students that there are others ways a person can give to the church besides giving money. They can also give of themselves with their individual talents.

The students will be playing “Wheel of Fortune.” The words that they will be trying to guess are ways that a person can contribute to the church through their participation or with their talents. Some possible words are WORSHIP, CHOIR, ACOLYTES, YOUTH GROUP, USHERS, MEALS ON WHEELS, LECTOR and SUNDAY SCHOOL.

The “wheel” for the game can be made in one of the following ways:

  • Use the wheel from the actual “Wheel of Fortune” game.
  • Use a round piece of cardboard to create your own wheel. The cardboard from a frozen pizza would work well for this.
  • Use a spinner from another board game.
  • Use a dice. Alter whichever “wheel” you use to allow the class to earn 1-6 points for each spin.

Game Play:

  1. Divide the class into 2 or 3 groups. If you have a very small group, you could have each person play individually.
  2. Each group or person takes a turn spinning the wheel.
  3. When they see what number they have spun, they select a letter.
  4. They receive the number of points spun times the number of letters that are in the words or phrases they are trying to solve.

    For example, if someone spins a 2 and picks a letter that appears 3 times in the word or phrase, they would earn 6 points. Have the shepherd write down the letters on the paper or chalkboard.
  5. Each group or person keeps spinning the wheel and guessing letters until they fail to guess a letter in the word or phrase. The points they have earned remain the same and the next group or person gets a turn.
  6. A group or person has their choice of guessing the word or phrase at anytime instead of spinning. If their guess is incorrect, it is the next team’s turn. Remember to rotate who starts guessing for each game.
  7. Once a person or group correctly identifies the word or phrase, they keep the number of points they have accumulated at that time. The other groups point totals go back to zero.
  8. The workshop rotation website suggested using Skittles. You can award each team or individual 1 Skittle for each point they earn. However, do not pass out the Skittles until the end of the class. Total each team’s total points for the day, divide it by the number of players on the team, and give them their appropriate number of Skittles.

    The reason for waiting until the end of class is that the students are not going to get ALL of the Skittles that they have earned. Emphasize the importance of giving to others. Talk about what it means to tithe. Then give each student 2 paper cups. Fill one cup with the Skittles they can have. And give them another cup that they can share with someone in the church. They can give the cup to an adult, a brother or sister, or another student.


Journal:

Have the students write the memory verse at the top of the page. Ask the students to think about the talents that they have. Tell them to write and then answer this question in their journal: Besides giving offering, how can I give to my church?

Closing:

Dear God, thank you for showing us that there are other ways of giving besides giving money. Help us to share the talents you have given us with our church and with others. And all God’s children said: AMEN.


Resources:


 

A lesson written by Rick from: Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN

The Widow's Mite

Movie Workshop - "Holywood & Vine"

Grades 3-6

Summary of Lesson Activities:

“Adventures from the Book of Virtues-Generosity”

Lesson Objectives:

The student is to…

  • understand why Jesus said “this poor widow has put in more than all the others…”even if it was only 2 small coins
  • understand why we give to the church
  • realize that even if we are not “wealthy,” we can give in other ways

 


Supplies List:

  • Video – “Adventures from the Book of Virtues-Generosity” About 30 minutes long
  • TV/DVD Player
  • Bibles
  • Popcorn and Beverage
  • Journals & pencils


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Preview the video.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

  1. Greet the children and introduce yourself
  2. Introduce the lesson by saying. Today we are going to learn about giving and generosity. We will see examples of how “giving” does not always mean giving only our money. We will talk about giving as a way of showing our love for God.


Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Pass out Bibles and ask for a volunteer(s) to read Mark 12:42-44 (the story of the widow’s mite). Then ask them to close their bibles and have someone tell the story in their own words.

ASK – what made the widows gift so special in Jesus’ eyes? Try to lead the discussion to the concept that even a little gift can be important.

ASK - why is it important to give to the church as the widow did? The responses could include that the church is the organization that distributes money to missions and places where assistance is needed. Also that God has told us, as Christians to care for the needy. And that we can show our love for God by loving others and by being generous with not only our money but our time and special talents.

Have all students find 2 Corinthians 9:7 in their bibles. Read this passage together. Repeat the last line 3 times, “…for God loves a cheerful giver.”


Application:

  1. Hand out popcorn (treats) and get ready to watch the video.
  2. Introduction: Today the video we are going to see is about loving others and being generous with things other than money. The 4 short stories we will see are about generosity of the spirit and our attitude about being generous (are we being generous to “show off” or to show our love of God). In each of the stories watch and listen for who was generous and what they did.
  3. Show the video
  4. Discussion:

    a. Why were Zach and Annie arguing as they planned their reward for bringing the food to the homeless. (They wanted to brag about doing a good deed, whose name should be first).

    b. Why did the young prince agree to let the Rocking horse go at last? (He loved the horse and wanted what was best for it).

    c. What did old Mr. Rabbit do at Thanksgiving? (He shared his food with the other animals and made a special Thanksgiving for everyone).

    d. What was so special about the gifts that the couple gave each other (They sacrificed something special to make the other happy).


Reflection:
Have the students write in their journals one or two ways they can be helpful or kind to a friend or family member, and how they plan to DO it this week.

Closing:

Dear God, please help us remember to be generous and share with others each day the money, time and special abilities you have so generously given to us. Amen

Resources:

  • Adventures from the Book of Virtues – Generosity, PBS Kids, Porchlight Entertainment. Distributed by Vision Video Gateway Films

    June 28/2010 - Moderator notes: This movie can be found on the DVD called "A Christmas Carol for Annie", Adventures from the Book of Virtue, and is the bonus feature called "The Gift of the Magi" by Porchlight #810863010371.

 

A lesson written by Judy from: Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN

(with inspiration from Kirk of Kildare Presbyterian Church)

The Widow's Mite

Science Workshop - “Faith Matters Lab”

Grades 4-6

Lesson Objective:

Learn what God says in the Bible about the offerings we bring, and the spirit (attitude) of joy in giving that God wants to see in our hearts.

For scripture and background - see above.


Supplies List:

For each student:

  • Bible
  • a zippered plastic bag
  • ¼ c. water
  • ½ c. vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp.baking soda
  • a paper towel
  • measuring cups and spoon
  • a nice day to be outdoors!


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us all we need to live each day. Thank you for solid homes to keep us warm and safe, plenty of food to make us grow strong, and enough clothes to wear. Thank you for giving us each things to do that we are good at. Most of all, thank you for giving us life. While we live here on earth, help us to share our talents and the gifts you have given us with others. In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:


Paul's Letter to the Corinthians

Scripture:  II Corinthians 9:6-12. (Have the students take turns reading these verses aloud.)

SAY: These verses are part of a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinthians. What was he trying to say to them? (Accept all answers—we are to give freely and generously. God wants us to give with a happy heart!)

SAY: Paul used the word “generosity.” What does that mean? (Accept all answers.) Generosity can be described is “liberality in giving” or “a willingness to give.” A generous person is one who “gives freely.”

God asks us to give to the poor, as well as to the work of His church. Paul said that when people give, it is like sowing (planting) seeds, and the seeds will grow. When people give, everything grows. There is enough for everyone! The people who receive the gifts are filled with gratitude. The giver’s own happiness grows.

We will go outside and do an experiment to watch growth in action! But let’s get a few things ready first.

  1. Pour ¼ c. of water and ½ c. vinegar into a zippered bag.
  2. Place 1 ½ tablespoons baking soda into the center of a paper towel. Carefully fold it up.
  3. Carefully carry the bag of vinegar water and the folded paper towel outside.
  4. Once you are outside, open the zipper halfway. Quickly stuff the folded paper towel into the bag and close the zipper as fast as you can. Shake it up a bit. Place on the ground and stand back away from the bag. (Carbon dioxide gas will form and will pop the bag!)


SAY: Wow! And when we give, God brings growth, just like the bag grew! When we share, everyone has enough, and joy grows in all of our hearts.

Cain & Abel

Journal Time/Apply the Lesson:
Read aloud Genesis 2:1b-7 to the students, preferably from TEV.
ASK: Which of these brothers gave his offering with a cheerful heart? (Abel gave the best that he had, from the first animals that he raised.)

Widow's Mite
Briefly tell the story of the Widow’s Mite, or ask a student to read the verses aloud.

ASK: Why did God say that the widow’s offering was special? (She gave all she had.)

Pass out the student’s journals/follow-up questions.

  1. Write in your journal about a time, when you gave, but perhaps not very cheerfully.
  2. Write about a time when you gave, but it was hard because you gave all you had.
  3. Or write about some ways that you can give cheerfully and help others, or help God’s church. (Hint: we often think of giving money or things, but there are other ways we can give.)


Closing:

Holy God, thank you again for all you do for us. Be with us during the week to come, and help us find many ways to give to you and to others around us. Amen.


Resources:

  • Carbon dioxide experiment: 2006 Jok Church – Dist. By Universal Press Syndicate 6-4-06.

 

A lesson written by Kirsten from: Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN

We made the saving banks Art Workshop above a few years back.

We used Crayola Banks from Smilemakers.com at that time and did not bother gluing them together.  

I created Art Bank cthe colouring pages (including scriptures see below) and printed onto "White Full Page Shipping Labels" that I then pre-cut. I thought this same idea would also work on the Pringle Chip containers suggested in the above lesson, they just may need to be adjusted height wise.

Once they were done colouring them, they simply peeled off the backing, laid the bank on it's side in the middle of the sheet and rolled paper around the bank —making sure the scripture end was rolled down last. 

I've attached a sample church bank page (docx) file, which has the cut lines (2 per page).  You could use the same idea and have the kids write out the scriptures (in boxes) and draw their own pictures, but I found the sticky back labels worked great and avoided having to use glue.

Scriptures we included on each bank:

Scripture – Toy StoreArt Bank d
Acts 20:35 - It is more blessed to give than receive. 

Scripture – Bank
Proverbs 22:7 - The rich rule over the poor & the borrower is servant to the lender.

Scripture – Church
2 Corinthians 9:7b - God loves a cheerful giver!

Luanne

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