As Christmas approaches, children are already beginning to make their lists of all the wonderful gifts they would like to receive this year. Use this time between now and Christmas to teach children the value of the eternal present and treasures in heaven vs. materialism
A good passage to read for this lesson is Mark 10:17-31, (NIV) This is the story of the rich man who approached Jesus and asked him how to have eternal life.
“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
This would be a good time to discuss with the children what it would be like if they had to give up everything to follow Jesus. What if they had to give up their toys, their home? The cell phone? The computer?
Explain to the children that God gave up everything for us. For God so loved the world He gave His only Son, (John 3:16-17) for us,caused Jesus to die and take the punishment for our sins. He gave up everything for us. Would we do the same for Him?
Yes, it would be really cool to receive a smart phone this Christmas or a new laptop or even the new Xbox Kinect. Those would be really great gifts, but those gifts won't last forever. Phones wear out or become obsolete. In a few years something even better than the latest laptop or gaming will be on the market and this year's electronics won't seem so cool anymore. However, the gift of eternal life, the free, no obligation, lifetime and beyond guarantee it comes with is by far the ULTIMATE GIFT. Would you be willing to give everything else in the world up for the ULTIMATE Gift of everlasting life? Which is more important to you?
This Christmas, I challenge you to spend as much time as possible focusing on the true Gift of Christmas. Talk with your children. Share the Gospel. Spend time in the Word with your family. Make Jesus the Reason for your Season, and this year, hopefully the focus will not be those material things and gifts under the tree, but the Greatest Gift of All, Eternal Life, the treasure of heaven.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
We Are The Reason by Avalon