to God: It Makes the World a Better Place!
a children's sermon based on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 and Luke 16:1-13
by Rev Frank Schaefer
Objective: to teach the children (and
adults) the principle of giving a portion back to God in order to help
fight poverty, hunger, and injustice in the world.
Props: an offering plate and 10 coins of your currency (US: 10 dimes; Uk:
10p pieces; Europe: 10 Eurocents; etc.)
Preparation: Ask a child volunteer an easy bible
trivia quiz question (i.e. who was the man in the bible whom God asked
to build a huge ship...) and, after answering correctly, give the
child ten coins.
Take one of the regular collection plates/baskets you use for the
offering in your church. Show the children the offering plate and tell
them that God asks us to give back a portion of what he gives us. Ask
the child who has the 10 coins how many of the coins he/she thinks God
wants him/her to give back.
[Most likely the child will think it is more than one]. Ask the child
to put one coin in the offering plate and say to the children: "God only
asks us to give one--one out of ten. God only asks us to return a little
portion of what he gave us. Do you think that is asking too much?"
[Shake your head in order to encourage a no answer] "No it isn't,
especially if we consider that God has given us all we have in the first
Now, why do you think God wants us to give to his church? What does
the church do with the offerings like this coin you have put in [lift up
the plate with the coin]? What does the church need money for? [Let
the children suggest things]. Add some things to their list, such as
missions giving, giving toward medicine, food for the developing
nations, adopt a child programs, neighborhood emergency fund, support
for the local soup kitchen, food/clothing supply for homeless people,
All of these things that the church does is to help people who are
poor, hungry, homeless, and those who are ill but have no money for a
doctor's visit or medicine. What do you think, is it important to give
offerings to God and God's church? Is it important to help feed and
clothe others? Absolutely. When you start earning some money, will
you give to God? [nod head slightly to encourage a yes answer] Who of
you gives offerings already, perhaps from your weekly allowance? That
is a wonderful thing and God will bless you for blessing others.
Let us pray: "Dear God please help us to remember that giving
offerings to you is very, very important. Especially because a large
portion of our church collections go to help those who are poor and
hungry. Let us never forget those who are needy and let us always be
willing to share with others what we have. Amen."
Facing Our Fiscal & Christian Responsibilities
Mark 12: 13-17
by Rev. Elaine Wing
It is with great joy that I share this story…
Just the other night, the phone rang
and the caller identified himself as a representative of the Internal
Revenue Service. The caller asked me, “Did David Smith give $10,000 to
Calvary United Methodist Church?” I thought for a moment and carefully
replied, “He will!” (Pause for effect - Too bad this story came to me as a
A cynic said recently “”Death and
taxes may always be with us but at least death doesn’t get any worse.”
This morning I want to tackle two topics that are not easy studies for me
– economics and politics. I find both topics confusing, complicated and
full of rhetoric. After trying to digest the plethora of information, I
usually end up making cynical comments about politicians, the government,
corporations or individuals like our fictitious Mr. Smith.
What finally drove a reluctant cynic like me to spend countless hours in
sermon preparation was not statistics or emotionally laden stories of
people turned away from empty food pantries. The tipping point came from
Paris Hilton, the heiress whose fame is solely the result of being rich.
Hilton was giving ABC News Reporter
Dan Harris a tour of her Beverly Hills mansion. She pointed through one
window to the 300 sq. foot house she had built for her six dogs. The
$325,000 two floor pooch mansion has a clay-tile roof with copper gutters,
intricate ceiling molding, central air conditioning and a crystal
chandelier hanging in the bedroom. The dogs even have a closet and a
downstairs living room! In the book of Genesis we are told to care for
animals but I do not believe God meant that our four legged friends need
such extravagant quarters.
Given the increase in our government
debt, one might think that Ms. Hilton was in charge of spending federal
dollars! Using official government statistics, the US federal deficit grew
by $1.5 trillion in 2010. The total outstanding US Treasury bonds was
$14.5 trillion meaning the size of our total debt was near to the size of
the total US annual economy. The numbers are now so big that we struggle
to comprehend their impact on our lives. No wonder fear is utilized as a
tool by politicians and religious groups of every stripe to win debates
and pass legislation.
With the exception of the extremely
rich, I believe nearly all US citizens (and undocumented residents) are
fearful of not having enough money to live simply
. . .
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