Family faith-sharing tip:
Children are often acutely aware of what they have to give up—or what they have to go without—because they go to church or because they are Christians. Help them to look for the hidden treasures in God’s kingdom and the blessings and benefits of choosing to follow Him. If they have to miss out on something they would have liked to do on Sabbath (such as going to a friend’s party), find creative and wonderful ways to fill the gap. If appropriate, invite the party child to come on an outing with you at another time, so your child can spend one-on-one time with their friend doing something special they both enjoy.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18; Matthew 13:44
- The kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, isn’t just a place where we will live in the future. It starts here and now, because we can choose to make God the loving king of our lives, right where we are, today.
- Paper and pens
- Newspapers and old church papers (e.g., Adventist World)
- Several deep trays of sand or potting compost (“clean” earth)
- Plastic tablecloth to protect the floor or furniture from soil (or do the activity outside in your yard, at the beach, or in a sand box, etc.)
- A small plastic box of treasure—whatever you can find that looks like treasure such as beads, buttons, or real coins that you can give to your children as a special treat.
- Sturdy plastic spoons for digging in the soil
- A collection of toys (or pictures) that illustrate a person’s belongings: automobile, small house, furniture, doll’s clothes, etc.
- Some toy coins or real money
What you do:
- Prepare by laying out several trays of sand or compost. Hide the treasure in one of the tray “fields,” making sure it is completely hidden from sight.
- Gather everyone together and ask them what it means to be a king, and then ask what it means to live in a kingdom.
- Explain that there are really only two kings in the whole world. One is an evil king (Satan) and one is a good king (God).
- Write “God’s kingdom” on the top of one sheet of paper and “Satan’s kingdom” on the top of the other sheet. Talk about how each kingdom is different; how they have different rules; and how the people in each kingdom live different kinds of lives with different goals (selfish versus self-sacrificing). Ask which kingdom they’d most like to live in and why.
- Now look through the newspapers and church papers. Tear out five stories that describe what happens to people who choose Satan as their king (stories of criminals, wars, drug addicts, greed, etc.) and five stories that describe what happens to people who choose God as their king (being kind and generous, helping others, being peacemakers, making sacrifices to help others, etc.). Which kingdom sounds the happiest and nicest?
- Read the parable of the man who found some buried treasure in a field and sold everything he had to buy the field (Matthew 13:44).
- Tell the story, using the prepared soil trays. Let the children search in the “fields” with the plastic spoons until they find the treasure.
- Then let them “sell” the man’s (toy) possessions to you and give them money to “buy” the field so they can own the “treasure” for themselves.
- What does the treasure really represent?
- Why do you think the man sold everything, even his house, so he could buy the field?
- What did you like best about the story of the man who sold everything?
- What do you think is the most important message in this story?
- What does this story help us to understand about God’s amazing kingdom?
- Which kingdom do you want to live in? God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom?
- Learn “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6:9-13) together. It is about the kingdom of God, on earth, right now.
- Make it come alive for your children by working together to create a simple action for each phrase in the prayer. Give yourselves a big hug as you begin your prayer to your loving Father in heaven, because He is always ready to welcome you with open arms.
- Write out the prayer and your actions so you can remember them. Or video your action prayer.
- Practice your action prayer several times until you have memorized it.