At Harvest time, Christians think about saying “thank you” to God, but also about what God wants us to do with the things he has given us. Read on for some ideas to help children learn about the generosity of God and how we can show that to others.
Jesus talked about what it meant to give generously. In the Bible, there is a story about how Jesus was standing outside the Temple with his friends, watching people come and give money.
This video shows the story without any words:
You can watch it with your child, talk through the story, and think together about what the characters in it might be thinking and feeling.
As you can see, many rich people donated large sums to the Temple. Then a poor widow came and put in two coins that weren’t worth very much. Jesus told his friends that her contribution, even though it was less money, was worth more than what all the rich people gave. They could afford to give large amounts, but she gave almost all she had to live on. For her, it was like giving everything.
Not everyone has a lot of money to spare. Jesus’ story about the poor widow is a reminder that how much we give is less important than our attitude about giving. Money isn’t the only thing to give either. We can give to God, and each other, in three ways: our time, our talents, and our treasure (money).
There are lots of ways we can spend time helping others. This article offers some ways to spend generous amounts of time being kind to others.
Generosity also matters to the people we love. Talk with your child about how you spend your time together as a family. Small rituals of spending time together – going for a walk, praying together at bedtime, listening to what was good and bad about each day – are ways of being generous to each other. Also, who among our friends and family might need us to spend special time with them? Is there someone who’s lonely or sad? How can we help them?
Even at a young age, children begin to show there are certain things they enjoy doing, or are good at. They might like drawing and painting, baking with you, or making things from Lego or other materials. They may have a talent for sport. Whatever it is, that talent could be used to help others. A special drawing can help cheer up a friend or family member in hospital, a few homemade cakes sold at the school gates or after church can raise money for charity. If you’re good at making people feel welcome, maybe you can help your local church by being one of the greeters once a month (children can do this too).
If you have room in your budget to give to charity, why not involve your children in making these decisions? What matters to you as a family? Why do you support the charities you do?
Learn about your chosen charity together and decorate a box with pictures from that charity’s publicity materials. Your child can put money in the box throughout the year, perhaps some change they have from buying something with their pocket money, or perhaps by selling cakes as described above. At the end of the year, count up the donations and write a letter to the charity together.
Even if it doesn’t seem like a lot of money, remind your child about the story of the widow and how Jesus is not concerned with amounts, but with our willingness to be generous.