Elfie got abducted before I got the chance to take his picture this morning so some lesson pictures will have to suffice for today. 🙂 Elfie did bring us a small bag with two little coins in it this morning, what could they be for?
Today was a great lesson for our sweet Johnathan. He has been working very hard to save up some of his money from doing chores and winning nickels from grandpa but today was the first time he was introduced to tithing. Elfie brought us a scripture story from Mark 12: 41-44:
41 Jesus sat down across from the place where people put their temple offerings. He watched the crowd putting their money into the offering boxes. Many rich people threw large amounts into them. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins. They were worth only a few pennies.
43 Jesus asked his disciples to come to him. He said, “What I’m about to tell you is true. That poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. 44 They all gave a lot because they are rich. But she gave even though she is poor. She put in everything she had. That was all she had to live on.”
What are offerings? A shrug of the shoulders is the response I got. Sigh…….it’s one of those mornings. An offering is gift you give to someone. Why do people give offerings at the church? “To pay for things” Johnathan answered. Well, yes it is to pay for things. But more importantly, we give an offering out of obedience to what God has told us to do. We continued to talk on about how blessed we are and that God is the one who gives to us and allows us to have all the wonderful things and the money that we have. When we become Christians, we become God’s property. We are His children and all that we have is really His. He is merely allowing us to use it while we are here living on earth. Johanthan was kind of following me on this, so we continued. Why do you think Jesus told His disciples that the poor woman’s two coins were was a greater offering than the rich people’s offerings? He had no idea, and I didn’t expect him to. We talked about how it doesn’t matter if we give God $1.000 or $1, what matters is that we trust Him enough to give Him what He asks for and what we have. The poor woman gave everything that she had because she trusted God and was obedient in giving to Him. The rich men gave a lot of money, but they still had lots of money to live on. A true offering requires sacrifice. It will cost us something. It sometimes means we have to go without something we really want. But, when we are obedient and happy givers God always blesses us way more in return!
This was a natural lead in to be able to talk with Johnathan about tithing. We have always tithed as a family and whole heartedly believe it is what God instructs us to do. Even as a kid I can remember my parents being much like this poor woman, putting in the last dollars they had. Trusting that God would provide. And He always did and still does! I asked Johnathan to go get his little wallet where he keeps all his treasures. He jumped up and was proud to sit down and count out all his money with me. I am so proud at what a good little save he is. Just like his daddy. Yep, that’s right…….he didn’t get the saving gene from me.
We got out some construction paper and tape and an old Tupperware bowl and made our own little tithing jar. Johnathan had about $8 saved up in his wallet. I told him that in the Bible God instructs us that we should tithe one tenth of what money we bring in. We counted out ten pennies and I showed him that one tenth of those ten would be one penny. He was following along and nodding his head. I told him that as he is getting older and starting to make a little money with the extra chores he does for mommy and the gifts he gets from family, that Jesus has asked him to start tithing. One tenth of the money he has. Now Johnathan started looking worried. I helped him and we decided that 80 cents would be one tenth of the $8 he had. So we counted out three quarters and five pennies…..80 cents. Then I asked him, “Okay, what has Jesus asked you to do with that 80 cents?” He looked at me with a sad face and pointed to the tithing jar. I have to admit it was hard not to laugh at his honesty. If we were all honest, you know you have felt this way about tithing before. I know I have. It’s my money. I worked hard for it. I need my stuff.
I reminded Johnathan that everything we have, even our money, comes from God. Look around us at how blessed we are. God doesn’t need your 80 cents Johnathan. He really doesn’t. He is God. He doesn’t need anyone’s money. Tithing is an act of obedience and faith. It shows God that you know the money is His to begin with and you are only borrowing it. It shows God that you trust Him. It shows God that you love Him enough to do what He asks of you. It is such a small service in comparison to the rewards and blessings and love that God gives us. Johnathan, Jesus wants you to give, and He wants you to give with a joyful heart knowing that by giving Him that 80 cents you are putting a great big smile on the face of God! Johnathan’s sad face turned to a happy one and he dropped his 80 cents into the jar with a bounce of excitement.
What an inspiring reminder as we come upon Christmas. We are to be joyful givers not reluctant ones. God doesn’t need our money to fulfill His plans, He is God. What He requires is our obedience. John 14:21 says “If you love me you will obey my teachings.” So, my 5-year-old son is tithing…………. are you?