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Flying Pennies

Aim: To encourage the children to identify and use their Spiritual Gifts

Core Competency: Spiritual Gifts

Objectives: The children will

  • understand that each Christian has unique spiritual gifts
  • seek to recognize and apply each student's spiritual gifts

Key Verse: "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." ( Romans 12:6 )

Story: "Parable of the Ten Minas " ( Luke 19:12-27 )

Materials Required:

  • Penny
  • Saucer
  • Spiritual Gifts Survey (optional)

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation: None, although some practice would be useful to ensure smooth sailing for the penny.

During Class:Read and explain the parable of the ten minas (a mina is about three month's wages). The man of noble birth is Jesus; the distant country is heaven, to which Jesus went after His resurrection to be appointed King of Kings. We who follow Christ are the servants. The minas represent (among other things) our spiritual gifts, which we are instructed to "put to work" until His return.

The king's review of his servant's stewardship with the minas is the White Throne Judgement, when we will stand before God to answer for our actions. (Christians will not answer for sin; we have an Advocate, Jesus Christ, who has paid for our sins. We will only answer for the good deeds we have done, or failed to do. Non-Christians will answer for all actions, including sin. See Revelation 20:11-15 .)

The servants who earned 10 and 5 minas, respectively, are those who have identified and applied their spiritual gifts to God's work. They are praised and given great responsibility in heaven. The servant who kept his gifts hidden is the Christian who fails to serve God with his gifts, drifting through life with nothing of eternal value to show for his life. He does not lose his salvation (which is, after all, a gift from God and not something to be earned), but he is given no privilege of responsibility in heaven. Rather, the reward which he could have earned is given to him who was most faithful while on earth.

Spiritual gifts are clearly important - so what are they? They are the skills and abilities which God gives through His Spirit to all Christians, which equip us to serve God in the Christian community. Read Romans 12:4-8 . About twenty spiritual gifts are referenced in the New Testament, including service, teaching, prophesy, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy, etc. It is unlikely that gifts are limited to those mentioned in passing in the New Testament, however. Clearly such gifts as music, counseling, working with children or the elderly, and written communication are also of great value to God, and should be included in any listing of spiritual gifts.

How do we apply our spiritual gifts? Place the saucer about 25 cm (10 inches) from the edge of the table, and place a penny halfway between the saucer and edge. Explain that the penny represents a spiritual gift, and the saucer its application in service to God. Ask the children how the penny could be transferred to the saucer without touching it. After several suggestions, place your chin against the edge of the table and blow gently over the top of the penny. The penny should be lifted into the stream of air you are blowing and be carried into the saucer.

Point out to the children the following. (1) You must kneel in order to blow correctly. Similarly, you must spend time in prayer to discern your spiritual gifts. (2) Your breath put the penny into motion. So you must also put your spiritual gifts into action to accomplish God's will. (3) With effort you can make more than one penny fly. You are granted more than one spiritual gift, and should apply all of them for maximum effect (e.g., the servant who earned ten minas was more greatly rewarded than the one who earned five).

If you have one, assist the children in completing a spiritual gifts survey to suggest to each child what his or her spiritual gifts may be. Encourage them to prayerfully explore the indiciations of the test to determine their true spiritual gifts.

Application Questions: Will you pray each day in the coming week for the Holy Spirit to reveal your spiritual gifts? Will you make service to God your number one priority?

Used: KIDZ 9/97 , BSF 11/00 , KIDZ 10/01

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