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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Mark 12:38-44; Luke 21:1-4

Story Summary

To put this story in context, see this visualization of the chronology of Holy Week. In this visualization, this story occurs in the "Temple debates" section.

This is a short story that should just be read directly from the Bible. Here are some highlights:

  • It is important to note the context of this. The actual story of the widow's offering begins in Mark 12:41, but we began this story with the previous section where Jesus is rebuking the scribes and others who were making a show of themselves and their worship. They do the following things to draw attention to themselves:
    • They walk around in long robes
    • They love it when people give them greetings in the marketplace (being the center of attention)
    • They try to get the best seats at the synagogue
    • They love to have the seats of honor at feasts
    • They victimize widows
    • They make long prayers for show
  • Right after rebuking them for these actions, he then gives a positive example of what is valued in the Kingdom of God
  • The principle here is that God isn't impressed with people who give a lot if they do it for the wrong reasons and if it comes out of their abundance (meaning it doesn't really hurt for them to give the money anyway). God rewards those who give sacrificially.

This is a very important principle for children. Many times adults make them feel like they don't have anything to offer the Kingdom of God. But they can be encouraged that God is truly impressed with them, even when they do things that appear "little" to adults.

For example, do you have children that serve during church services? Taking up the offering, greeting people at the front door, handing out bulletins, etc? You can talk through this with your class and help them understand that what they do is just as important in God's eyes as what the preacher or the music leader does. 

Do you take up an offering in your children's ministry? Or do the children give alongside the adults? They need to know that God is just as impressed (sometimes more!) with them giving a nickel out of their allowance as he is with someone who gives thousands of dollars.

What You Will Need

Resource Sheet

A Widow's Gift Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts the poor widow giving her two small coins as an offering at the temple

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Have you ever given your own money to help someone else? Or have you ever given something you own to help someone else? Do you think what you gave helped that person?

Today, we are going to learn about a woman in the Bible who gave. No one was impressed with what she gave, but Jesus was!

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or read directly from the Bible.

Consider using the "Coins and Money" reinforcement activity as part of your lesson time.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Mark 12:38-44

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • What were the scribes (or religious leaders) doing to draw attention to themselves? (see list in story summary above)
  • How were the people giving their money to the temple? (they were doing it in public, and putting their money in the offering box so everyone could see how much they were giving)
  • How much did the widow give? (two of the smallest coins they used, like pennies today)
  • What did Jesus say about her offering? (that she gave more than everyone else, because she gave all she had and others gave when they still had plenty left over)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • In this story, we learned that God values what we give to him, no matter how small it is, as long as we give because of our love for him and not to impress others.
  • How can you give to God? Out of your allowance? In your serving?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Scripture says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Reinforcement Activities

Make an Offering Box

Scripture 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. Mark 12:43

Supplies Small boxes, toilet paper tubes, Scripture printout

  • Cut a hole in the box to fit the toilet paper tubes inside.
  • Secure with tape.
  • Attach the scripture verse onto each box.
  • Allow students to decorate their offering boxes.
  • Encourage them to fill their box with coins they earn and give the money to God.
  • The money can be given to the church, someone in need or a local food pantry.

Coin Coloring

Scripture But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins. They were worth much less than a penny. Mark 12:42

Supplies coin printout, brown and orange crayons

  • Print out two coins for each student.
  • Color each coin a bronze/copper color by using orange and brown crayons.

Guess How Many Coins

Scripture 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. Mark 12:41

Supplies jar of pennies or larger coins

  • Provide a glass jar of pennies (or larger coins, if possible).
  • Provide each student with a piece of paper to write their name and their guess as to how many coins are in the jar (or how much total money).
  • The student that is closest gets to decide how the money is given back to God.
  • Examples would be:
  • to a specific ministry of the church, a family in need, flowers or a card for someone who is sick, etc.

Where can you serve?

Heads up! You might ask ministry team leaders over areas where children can serve to join you for this part of class.

Scripture 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. Mark 12:43

  • Ask the children to tell you areas of your church where people serve on a weekly basis, and for each answer, write it on a whiteboard or chalkboard.
  • Examples would be: greeter, usher, coffee, worship band, teacher, tech team, etc
  • Talk with them about how important each of those areas are to the church. For example: greeters help visitors feel welcome; the tech team helps make sure people can hear the preacher, etc
  • Now, ask the children which areas they serve in.
  • For those who aren't serving anywhere, ask them where they might be able to and want to serve.

Coin Toss

Scripture 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. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins. They were worth much less than a penny. 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. Mark 12:41-43

Supplies small box, paper towel tube, paper bowl, two coins

  • Heading east through the Inner Courts of Herod's Temple, would bring you to the Court of the Women. Its name is derived from the fact that Jewish women were only admitted this far.
  • In this court, at the west end, was the treasury, the section where thirteen trumpet-shaped containers for voluntary offerings of money were located.
  • Make a trumpet shaped offering box, using a paper towel tube and a paper bowl.
  • Cut a hole in the bottom of the bowl, just big enough for the tube to slide through. Attach with tape.
  • Cover entire trumpet with aluminum foil.
  • Cut a hole in a small box, just big enough for the other end of the paper towel tube to slide through.
  • Stick trumpet into the hole in the box.
  • Secure with tape.
  • Have students take turns throwing the two coins into the offering box.
  • Move the offering box further back to make the game more challenging.
Coin Toss Example

Coins and Money

Scripture But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins. They were worth much less than a penny. Mark 12:42

Supplies Coins of all types and sizes (including foreign coins if you have them), paper money of all denominations, and pictures (either printed out or on a computer) of very large denominations of money

  • Show your students the coins you brought
  • Pass them around class, allowing the students to touch them, feeling how heavy or light they are, the texture, etc
  • If you have foreign coins, have the children try and guess how much they are worth in comparison to the coins in your currency
  • Have them place the coins in order on the floor according to how much they are worth
  • Show them the paper money in larger and larger denominations
  • After you have shown them the largest denomination of money you have, take the pennies you have an compare the two.
  • Tell them that God doesn't care whether you put the pennies or the large denomination of money, but he cares how much your gift costs you!
  • So if all you have is 3 pennies, and you put in 2, you have given more than someone who gives a thousand dollars who has one million!