Part of my job is to write or edit the “production” for Grade School (grades 1-5) at the Austin Stone. I’m going to try and give you a taste of what that is. Here is the “Word” (sort of like a sermon for short attention spans) from this week. It is in script format, because this is what the volunteers who teach the word receive.
Virtue: Discipline—doing what you need to do now so you can grow stronger.
Bible Story: Let It All Go (the widow’s mite) • Mark 12:41-44
Bottom Line: If you want to know God better, make Him more important than anything.
Good morning everyone, It’s really nice to be back with you this morning. I love KidStuff because it’s a time when we get to learn about God in a lot of different ways. Like, we learn about God and obedience and love during the rules, we learn about telling God how much we love him when we sing to Him or about Him, then we learn about how we can live out the story, what it might look like in our lives, when we see the skit. (last section not for Unplugged) And now we are to the part where we learn about God by looking at what the Bible says about Him. So let’s get to it!
Today we are looking at what story? Pause for answers. That’s right, we’re looking at a story that talks about people giving to God. Does anyone remember where that story is? Pause for answers. Excellent! Yep, today we are looking in the Bible at Mark, chapter 12, verses 41-44. Now, Mark is in the New Testament, which is the part of the Bible after Jesus was born. So which half of the Bible is that? Pause for answers. Yes, the second half! In fact, it’s the second book of the New Testament, so it’s pretty easy to find. But since most of you don’t have your bibles here, we’ll read it off the screen.
Storyteller reads the whole passage from screen
CG- Mark 12:41-44
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
So what is going on in this story? Pause for answers Well first we see some of the basic things, like Jesus is talking to his disciples, his friends, and he’s teaching them something. I don’t know about you, but if Jesus thought something was important to teach, I want to make sure I try to learn it! So we know that Jesus is teaching something. Then what else do we notice? Pause for answers. Well, where are they? Jesus and his friends are at the temple. Do you know what that is? Pause for answers. Yeah, it’s kind of like church, it’s where people would go to worship God. And Jesus sees a lot of people giving money to God. Does that sound weird? Pause for answers. Well I thought it sounded a little odd, until I thought about how we give an offering here at KidStuff. It’s not because God wants or needs our money, but because we want to give money to help do the things the Bible says we should do. Like in KidStuff, our offering goes to take care of kids that need help.
So here they are, at the temple, and people are bringing money. And the Bible says that Many rich people threw in large amounts. But was Jesus impressed with that? Well let’s keep reading. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Now, let’s pause. Here are some rich people, giving a lot of money. Think about the recent earthquake in Haiti. Some of us were able to give money to send to help. In fact I went to a concert where altogether, the people who went were able to give several thousand dollars! Think about that, that is a LOT of money! How many legos or Hannah Montanna CDS could you buy with that? A LOT! That’s pretty impressive to me, so I’m thinking Jesus is going to talk about how good these rich people were for giving a lot of money, right? Pause for answers.
No, you guys are too smart for that!! Jesus wasn’t focused on the big amounts of money the rich people were giving, he wanted to teach about the widow. Now remind me, did he tell the disciples how disappointed he was that the poor widow gave so little money? I mean, the bible says it was about a PENNY!! WHAT CAN YOU BUY WITH A PENNY?! WHAT GOOD CAN A PENNY DO?! Pause for answers. So Jesus is going to teach his friends about how measly a cent is, right?! Pause for answers
WRONG!! Let’s look again at what Jesus says, Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Jesus says that the woman put in more than ALL the others. How is that possible? How is a PENNY more than the probably thousands of dollars of other people? Did Jesus just not know how to do math? Pause for answers. No, that’s not the issue.
What Jesus is teaching his friends, and what we can learn here, is that it isn’t necessarily what you give to God that matters, but how much what you give to God matters to you. Let me say it another way. If something doesn’t matter much to you, like an old hoodie that has just been hanging in your closet, then when you give it away, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are giving because you love God, and he is important to you. It’s not bad to give it away, and it can still make a difference to the person who gets is, but it’s not the kind of sacrifice that the widow made.
The kind of sacrifice the widow made was WAY WAY bigger, even though she gave less. Why? Because she wasn’t just giving away her extra stuff, she was giving away EVERYTHING she had. The Bible says that what she put in was “all she had to live on.” See, we know that she was a widow, which means that she used to be married, but her husband died. And back then, it wasn’t very easy for women to work to take care of themselves. So she had no one to take care or her, and had a hard time taking care of herself, and she still gave everything she had in her offering to God. Wow, she must really love God, and really trust Him, to give him everything, right?
Well we can learn a lot of things from this story, but the two big things I want to point out are that when we give because of God, like in offering or to charity, he cares more about the feelings behind the gift than he does the actual gift. And the second is
CG- If you want to know God better, make Him more important than anything.
It’s a discipline that is hard to do, because it means that we can’t just live by rules, but we have to think about what we give. Instead of just giving $5 or reading the Bible for 5 minutes or memorizing 1 verse because that’s what we did to know God better last week, we have to think about how we can make Him more important than everything, all the time. Now we’re going to see what happens with the kids in the clubhouse, and then go back upstairs and talk about how, in life, we can possibly make God more important than everything. But first, let’s pray.
Dear God thank you for teaching us that we need to make you more important that anything else, and please help us understand how to do that. Thank you for Jesus who came and died for us so that we can talk to you. We love you. Amen.