Written by: Therese Kay
I teach Sunday School to middle schoolers once a month. It kind of reminds me of herding cats and I’m quite thankful it’s only once per month. In all seriousness, God bless all those who work with middle schoolers. They require a special kind of patience and love.
This past week, the teaching was on Matthew 22:15-22 in which the Pharisees and Herodians try to trick Jesus by asking him if it is lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not. After requesting to see the tax coin, emblazoned with the image of the emperor, he said, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
So there are roughly three hundred different ways you could approach a teaching on this passage and approximately one (that I could think of) that would intersect with anything that a middle schooler might possibly relate to. My approach was to talk about giving to God the things that are God’s.
What is God’s? What belongs to him? Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” Short answer, everything. So, everything we own and are belongs to him and should be given to him.
The middle schoolers had some interesting answers to the question, "How can we give to God?"
- Following the 10 Commandments
- Taking care of ourselves
- Going to church
- Giving gifts
We ended the lesson with Matthew 26:6-13 where a woman anoints Jesus with a very expensive ointment. The disciples thought that it should have been sold and the money used to help the poor. Jesus had a very different perspective. “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.”
I ended the lesson this way so the children would know that they can do beautiful things for God. When they give to him, no matter how much it may seem in the eyes of the world (Mark 21:41-44, Widow’s Mite), that God could view it as a beautiful thing.
In the devotional, Messages from God: An Illuminated Devotional, Kathleen writes in the voice of Jesus. In one of the passages (Part 5, Day 6) she writes (in the voice of Jesus):
I give to you, but you can also give to Me. When Mary of Bethany spent a year’s wages anointing me I said, “She has done a beautiful thing to Me.” I said this in front of all My friends gathered there so that they would hear and remember, and record it for all of you. This is profound: I am God, but you can give to Me; you are capable of doing things for Me that I will call beautiful.
What a beautiful thing, that we can give to God what is already His and He will call it beautiful. What beautiful thing will you give to God?