Always give yourselves completely to the work of the Lord. Because you belong to the Lord, you know that your work is not worthless.
I Corinthians 15:58 (NIRV)
Jesus was in the Temple that day when a woman gave all the money she had and placed it in one of the freewill offering boxes. As she placed this offering, Jesus spoke to this sacrificial giving. Jesus’ remarks spoke not only to giving all our money to God. These words are also about motivation and attitude when giving our resources. These resources include money, talents, time and gifts. This gift was from her heart of faith as she trusted God for her other needs.
In churches we often hear people say, “I would of given my time…but I wanted to rest… I could of helped…but it wasn’t the right time…I should of been there…but there was something else I needed to do”. So, how can we as a church and as families share the importance of giving? We can share the importance of giving as our response to God’s abundant love that he has given us.
We can find those small moments in our day to give of our time to our own family members, as well as reaching out in our church and our community. These tiny gifts of time, talents and gifts can make powerful impacts in our churches and our families for growing faith together in the Family of God.
As with the poor widow, let’s turn our “would of, should of, could of” excuses into the action phrase, “I will”. Let’s begin by sharing time and talents in our families and extending into our Children’s and Youth Ministries. It may be as small as a “mite” by doing movement exercises or running with a group of children or youth for a few minutes on Sunday before the leader begins the lesson. Or, it may be placing your hand on your own child’s shoulder as they leave for school and giving a blessing. Let’s not wish we “would of, could of or should have” done these things later in life. Make decisions in your heart today!
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (II Corinthians 9:7 NLT)
Children’s Storybook Bibles: The Jesus Storybook Bible, Read and Learn Bible, Celebrate Wonder Bible Storybook or other Children’s Bible. There is also a video at the end of this post that your family may want to view.
Cultivate Faith Talk-The wondering questions enable all ages to see opportunities for new understandings and appreciation of the scriptures with it’s amazing messages instead of reading for information only.
- I wonder if the widow heard what Jesus said to the others in the Temple? I wonder how she felt?
- I wonder if I can do something to help at home?
- I wonder what the people in the Temple talked about that night?
(Late Elementary, Youth & Adults)
- I wonder what the others in the Temple did after Jesus spoke?
- I wonder why Jesus said this to the people?
- I wonder what Jesus wanted to happen next?
- I wonder if we trust God for all our needs?
- I wonder where and how we could improve our giving?
- I wonder if all the people were “cheerful givers”
- I wonder if we are “cheerful givers” in our heart when we offer to help someone or give money?
- I wonder if the people in the Temple said to themselves or others, “I should have given more…I could have if…I would have, but…” Name some excuses that they could have given?
- I wonder if we ever say, “I should have, but…I could have, but…I would have if…” when it comes to giving to others of our time, talents or money?
- I wonder if the people who were there in the Temple that day talked about what Jesus said?
- The small coins in the story were actually the smallest coins they had in Jesus’ time and were made out of copper. Mays in Harper’s Bible Commentary noted that in Jesus’ day, these two coins may buy one pomegranate. Talk about your smallest coins and what they could buy today.
- I wonder if we ever give because we feel pressured to give or do we give from our hearts?
- Take a moment to count your change in your purse or wallet or jar. Talk about what a small amount of money could mean to others. Give some to your church.
- When preparing dinner, look in your pantry at home. What could you take and place in the Food Pantry or outside Food Closet in town or a Food Pantry at your church. I wonder what a small can of beans could mean to a family, especially in these hard times?
- Volunteer at church to help with the children and/or youth. If your children are older, maybe they could help with the pre-school game time for a few minutes at the beginning of Sunday School. Ask your leaders at the church for possiblities to serve.
- What could I have done today to help someone, but didn’t? I wonder why I didn’t?
- Offer to give your mom, dad, child or grandparent a shoulder rub after a long day.
- Everyone in the family, carry two pennies in your pocket all week to remind you of this story. At dinner, talk about any small things you did for others or opportunities you may want to explore later.
- Notice during the week how God has supplied your needs. Talk about and pray thanking God for your blessings.
- Notice when the children are playing with Legos later in the week. Ask them to imagine what the Temple may have looked like and build one or build what the chests/boxes may have looked like. Research says that they may have looked like trumpets.
“And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
Blessings & Prayers (All Ages) Place your hand on your child’s shoulder or head or hold hands when giving the blessing. They may also repeat this short blessing for you as they place their hand on your shoulder or head.“You, Lord are my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Amen
Anytime Blessings: “I pray you always give yourself to the work of the Lord…your life is filled with blessings, talents and gifts.”
“I pray you trust in the Lord always”
“You are wonderfully made in God’s image…I know whatever you do in life, you will do with all your heart.”
“God’s love is with you…my love is with you…God bless you as you rest this night.”
This story on the video is 3 minutes and 49 seconds long and describes the setting and events that took place around the time of this story in the Temple. Research also says that the “box” that was used to collect the offerings may have had an object shaped like a trumpet on top to contain the coins.
Additional Resource used for History: Temple Treasury