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The following has bunches of Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and Stewardship -related ideas and resources, as well as links to other topics in our Bible Story forums related to thanksgiving and stewardship. If you have a specific Bible story in mind that teaches thankfulness, gratitude, or stewardship, look it up in our Bible Story Lesson Forums.

Here are three of the most popular "thanksgiving" stories: Parable of the Talents, The Thankful Leper, and Widow's Mite.

Need help with a lesson idea? Post your question in our Teachers Lounge.

Time, Talent, Treasure "Gad-zof-oo-lak'-ee-on" Discussion Game

Share the following in a Bible study about the Widow's Mite (or any Stewardship discussion), then use it to generate the game pieces (papers) and play the game.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul reminds us that. "There are a variety of gifts...  but it is the same Spirit that gives them." And boy was the Apostle Paul not kidding!  He used no fewer than four different words in his letters for the word "gift." For example, in 1 Cor 12:7, the Greek word Paul uses for "gifts" is "charismo" which is the kind of gift that is an ability. The ability to heal, speak, teach, be patient, do justice, give, be compassionate, give an ear, etc. When he describes where such gifts come from, he uses the word "pneumatikos" which literally means "from/given by the Spirit." In his other letters, Paul uses the word "doma" to describe things like gifts of money given to him. Doma means "something given," a present, a gift. And elsewhere Paul uses the word "prosphero" which is something akin to an offering in worship, or a sacrifice. "Prospheros" could be money or animals offered in the Temple, and more broadly, they can be any kind of sacrificial act performed in the name of God.

In Mark 12, the widow's mite was a coin "offering"  - or what Paul in Greek would have called a "prosphero." She and others are putting coins into the "treasury" -- a receptacle for money with the odd Greek name of "gad-zof-oo-lak'-ee-on."  Offerings were gifts used to support the Temple and its charities.  The word Mark uses for the coin that Widow contributed is "lepton" -- which is worth less than a penny. It was a small coin minted by the Jewish authorities (Roman coins could not be offered.) The story has Jesus WATCHING what people put in! Rather unnerving to think about, isn't it?   

See this article for more about the "mite" and a photo of them.

Jesus would used the Hebrew word "minkah" to describe offerings given in worship. And in his day, people often made several different types of offerings in the Temple, money and animals, and there were different types of coin offerings one could make all in the same trip. Coins as a sort of "Temple Tax," coins and/or animals to ask forgiveness ("sin offerings"), offerings for prayers/healing, etc.

To handle all these types of offerings at the Temple in the time of Jesus, there were thirteen "trumpet shaped" collection boxes that people would throw offerings into. Some of them being for coins, the experts note that they would make a SOUND as they went into the trumpet -- a sound that others could hear to know how mch the worshiper had put in! No wonder Jesus taught the lesson of the widow's two coins!  They hardly made a noise in those trumpets. Thank God Jesus has better hearing the most people. God hears what's in our hearts, not what's clanging into the offering plate.

If you have time in your lesson, stop here and have students "PITCH PENNIES" into a brass or metal bucket. You can have other players turn their back and try to guess how many coins the player tossed. Remember to point out that the number of pennies you gave didn't matter to Jesus, it's how many you had to give that mattered.

Like the New Testament writers, The Church has a lot of different words for the same idea: offering, gift, time, talent, treasure, stewardship, gratitude. All of which means,there are a variety of words for "gifts" but it is the same Spirit who gives them all!


Let's Play!

For this game, you'll set out three treasure chests with th elabels "time, talent, treasure" on them. Cleverly decorated boxes will do. Call them ""gad-zof-oo-lak'-ee-on"  !!

Then pass out three sheets of 8.5z11 copy paper to each student.

  1. On the first they must name "a gift of time they can give to do something helpful."
  2. On the second they must write "a gift of something I do well that I can share with others."
  3. On the second, they must write "a way to earn some money that I can put in the church offering."

Naturally, some discussion will need to take place.

  • The teacher should write several of each to add to what the students come up with.
  • The teacher should also write "Widow's Two Coins," "Lepton," "Charismo," and "Prophero" on three different sheets of paper.
  • Put all the sheets of paper into a basket.

To play the "Gad-zof-oo-lak-ee-on" Game

Arranged the three treasure chests (Gadzofoolakeon) about five feet from a line you've made on the floor. (Adjust the distance depending on age, ability, and size of the treasure box.)

One by one, students step up to the line and draw a piece of paper from the basket. They announce what's on it, then decide WHICH of the three treasure chests it belongs in, "time, talent, or treasure."  Then they crumple the paper up and try to get it into the correct treasure chest. If they miss, give them a second chance. If they miss again, put the crumpled paper ASIDE for the time being, until you've played through all the others pieces of paper. When the basket is empty, have students uncrumple the page, read it again, crumple it back up and toss it into the correct treasure chest.

Adjust distance and other game rules depending on the age of your group, size, ability, and size of treasure chests. Keep score to keep them focused.

Remind them that ACCURACY IN THROWING is only ONE GIFT!  There are many others (like being an encourager). You can even let them stand closer to demonstrate the gift of GRACE.

After playing, uncrumple all the pages and tack them to the "Gad-zof-oo-lak-ee-on" boxes to make a display, or recycle the paper.

Check out this link
for more about playing a coin toss game with your church's metal or wood offering plate or basket and discuss how one should give silently.


Images (5)
  • Time-Talent-Treasure-Widows-Mite-Game
  • mceclip0
  • Location of 13 Coin Trumpets in the Temple
  • Temple coin funnel
  • metal bucket for game
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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