Family faith-sharing tip:
Encourage in your children a healthy sense of self by giving them the essential ingredients of spiritual self-understanding. They need to be humble enough to understand their dependence on God to help them grow spiritually. They need to experience your respect, so they can learn how to respect themselves and others. They need your loving compassion so they can learn how to have appropriate self-compassion and learn to love others as they love themselves. They also need your help to discover the spiritual gifts and talents that God has given them to use in His service. Together you can grow closer to God and to one another.
- Psalm 34:18; Luke 18:9-14
- It’s important for us to understand who we are and why we need to depend on God to help us grow spiritually, rather than on our own strength and our pride in our own abilities.
- Two clear glass bottles
- Jug of water mixed with enough lemon juice to make it taste sour
- Grape juice or other delicious, colorful fruit juice
- One glass or cup per person
- One sheet of white paper (normal copy size) per person
- One sheet of colored paper per person
- Paper glue
- Small gift bags or bowls
- Scrap paper
- A few different foods for a small lunch or picnic
What you do:
- Read aloud Luke 18:9-14 and imagine together why the tax collector’s prayer was better than the prayer of the Pharisee.
- Fill one of the two glass bottles with the mixture of lemon juice and water.
- Give everyone a drop—just a taste—of drink from the first, sour, lemony bottle.
- Pour the delicious, colorful juice into the empty bottle.
- Then fill everyone’s glass with the nice juice and invite them to drink it to take away the sour taste.
- Read the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector again.
- What did you like best about the story?
- How are the two bottles like the Pharisee and the tax collector?
- Which bottle is most like which person?
- What do you think the lemon juice might represent? (selfishness, pride, thinking we can earn God’s love and forgiveness by what we do, etc.)
- What do you think the nice juice represents? (God’s love, grace, forgiveness, power, etc.)
- How can we make sure our lives are filled with the delicious juice of God’s love, power, and forgiveness, rather than the sour lemon juice of our own selfishness?
- What’s the most important thing you’ve discovered as we’ve done this activity?
- Give each person a small gift bag, or bowl, filled with three or four wadded-up paper balls or other paper rubbish.
- Place the trash can (litter bin) on the floor.
- Place the different picnic foods on a nearby tray.
- Invite everyone to think quietly about something that God wants them to let go of, or give up, or stop doing.
- Have them take a ball of paper out of their bag or bowl and throw it away each time they think of something God may want them to give up.
- Point out that when the bags are empty of the “trash” or “rubbish” in our lives, we can begin to thank God for the good things He has given us and the things He has done to save and help us.
- Each time they think of something to thank God for, choose a food item from the tray and put it in their bag or bowl to make a meal or picnic.
- Point out that God wants to take all the trash out of our lives and fill us up with good things!
- Bless the food and enjoy the picnic together.