Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.- NASU
Jars, jars and more jars! Mary Rose and her class mates could not believe their eyes when they walked into the class room. 10 large jars were on the table! They had to try and guess how many items were in each jar. One was filled with different sizes of bells, another had a whole bunch of paper hearts. They saw one filled with several different items and other jars held Q-tips, crayons, toothpicks, cotton balls, noodles, buttons, and many slips of paper with the same Bible verse on them. They had each been given a paper numbered from 1-10 to write down their guess of how many things were in each jar. Because of the different sized items it was tricky and made them think there was less in some of the jars. They were all surprised to learn each jar had the same number of items. 490! Really? Wow, that’s a lot This had been fun…but what did it all have to do with BIBLE class? Why were they guessing the number of things in the jars? “Hmm.” In the meantime, the “listening ear was displayed! That meant it was time for the Bible lesson. If they listened real close to the lesson they would find out the answers to their questions. The teacher passed around a cloth covered box with a hole in one end just big enough for a hand to fit through. They reached in and felt of the objects that were inside and passed it on without telling or describing what they thought they felt. Each of the students took a turn. Soon it was Mary Rose’s turn. Yup, she felt 2 objects. One was cold and the other warm. “Hum-m, she thought, what could they be? The cold one is hard like a rock.” She had no idea what the other one was but it was warm, soft and easily squeezed. Later they would discuss what they were thinking and then find out what was actually in the box. As they finished with the box they were to look up Matthew 18:21.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
Peter, who was one of Jesus’ close followers, asked Him this question, “If my brother sins against me, how many times should I forgive him, 7 times?” Jesus answered and said, “Not 7 but 70 x 7 times.” 490 times! Really? That’s when the class discovered why that exact number of items were in each jar! That really IS a lot! Especially when you think of forgiving someone that many times. Oh-h-h but that may not be such an easy thing to do. As they went through the lesson, they were shown stick figure people of the whole parable. They got to see the King and his servant who owed him a large amount of money. The servant begged the King to give him time to pay. The King was kind and even though his servant did not deserve it, he not only gave him time but he forgave his servant’s debt so the he didn’t have to pay any of the money he owed the King. How kind the King was. He canceled out what was owed him! How happy the servant must have been. After being forgiven his debt, (not having to pay what he owed), you would think the servant would be very kind to a man who owed him money, especially when it was such a small amount compared to what he had owed the king. But the servant behaved just the opposite! He was very demanding and cruel to this man who owed him money. How sad. Even when the man begged him as the servant had begged the King, he still demanded payment and threw him in jail until he could pay. When the King found out how his servant had behaved he was very unhappy and had his servant tortured until he could pay his debt back to the King. The man should have been even more forgiving because he had been forgiven himself. Finally the class was able to talk about what they thought was in the box and see what they had felt.
The warm, soft, squeezable object was a small heart shaped pillow and could be easily squeezed or moved. It always keeps its softness. Kind of like a warm, soft, forgiving heart. Someone with a forgiving heart can be moved by compassion “squeezed” when someone is in trouble or has done wrong. They will show kindness even when it is not deserved. A soft forgiving heart listens to God and forgives.
The cold, hard, object was a cold, hard, rock. It was hard and stiff when pressed upon. It didn’t move or give. Kind of like a cold, hard, unforgiving heart. Someone with an unforgiving heart can’t be moved by compassion when someone is in trouble or has done wrong. They won’t show kindness in any way. Especially when it is undeserved. A hard unforgiving heart does not listen to God and is unforgiving. They learned that God is like the King who forgave and we are like the servant who had been forgiven a large amount. We need to have a soft, forgiving heart that listens to God.
After we forgive 490 times is it ok to then be unforgiving? NO! Forgiving 490 times is like saying we should always have a forgiving heart especially when someone asks you to forgive them. Matthew 6:14-15 tells us if that if we want God to forgive us then we need to forgive others. They used pictures and discussed things one may sometimes have to forgive. As they left class they reached into the jar and took home their memory verse.
To my Sister Bible class teachers,
Relating fun activities to the Bible lessons can sometimes be a challenge, but always needs to tie in to the point of the lesson and be discussed. The activity should help them remember that all important point everyone is to apply in their lives.
I have students who may arrive 15 minutes early and that is ok for I am normally in the room and set up so a Bible related activity can be started as soon as someone arrives. It does though, seem to never fail that one or two are 10-15 minutes late and miss out on part or all of the arrival activity that helps to reinforce the lesson’s point.
It’s sad but we have to move on to get lesson time in and have time for the other things that may go with it. When you have those who are on time it is unfair to hold up class time for those who are late.
I do understand children do not have control of how early their parents leave for Bible class but usually if you and the child relay to the parents what happens at the beginning of class they may be more inclined to be on time.
Touch and feel box.
- Use a smaller sized box but bigger than a shoe box.
- Cut a larger hole in 1 end for inserting objects and a smaller hole in the other for reaching in.
- Use enough fabric like you would be wrapping the box in paper but leave about 10 inches of extra fabric on each end where the holes are.
- Once I had box measurements I sewed a tube to go over the box. You may use hot glue, or spray adhesive.
- Tie ribbon around fabric on end of box with the larger hole so it can be untied and objects inserted.
- Glue around smaller hole and tuck extra fabric into the hole so they cannot look into box and see objects as they reach in.
The heart – made out of stretchy jersey fabric, filled with bird seed that made it fun to squeeze. It was put in the microwave and then stored in foil to keep it warm.
The rock – had been stored with ice packs. Both were taken out of storage just before use and placed in the box.
You could pull out the happy and sad faces again for younger classes like in the April article that featured Micaiah telling the truth.
There were definitely a few words within the lesson that would have needed to be defined.
- Parable – An earthly story with a heavenly meaning
- Sin – Missing the mark, (like shooting an arrow at a target.)
- Debt – Something owed.
- Forgive – To stop holding a wrong action that they did against someone or to cancel out what someone owes you such as money.
- Compassion – feeling sympathy for someone who is suffering with a strong desire or feeling to take away their suffering.
For lesson visuals see link
Serving in His Kingdom,
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