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."
as Citizens of Two Kingdoms:
Facing Our Fiscal & Christian Responsibilities
Mark 12: 13-17 and Matthew 25:34-40
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 in 2010?” I thought for a moment and
carefully replied, “He will!” (Pause for
effect - Too bad this story came to me as a dream!)
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.
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. One recent news story showed the shock and anger in
the faces of police, firefighters, and public service workers in a
Northeastern town forced to make Draconian cuts in their pensions.
Interestingly enough, many find that the Bible does support
the role of government in charitable acts. In Ezekiel 34 and Romans
13, as well as the gleaning laws and jubilee commands from God, we can
see such intervention as part of government’s responsibility.
Experts in Christian ethics suggest the Bible affirms that
government is ordained by God for the good of the people and
establishment of justice, lawn, and order and the prevention of
The overarching Biblical imperative is to take care of the
weak and marginalized as a collaboration of many societal
structures of which government is a part. Oh boy, that means
everyone has a role and that politicians, bureaucrats, religious and
social service leaders need to work together!
Now let’s look at what the Bible says about the sticky issue
of how much government assistance is given to whom and
through what channels. We begin by looking at taxation
because that is a primary source of income for the government.
In Mark 12: 13-17, we find Jesus in the center of a debate
on taxation that rivals what is happening in Washington D.C. right
now. Following is the context of this text before we hear Jesus’
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