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Our U.S. currency can be used to teach wonderful Christian object lessons in a day in which there is such a push to take God out of our schools, our government, & our daily lives.
Begin the lesson by asking if anyone has found a penny. Did they think it was lucky? Did they keep it?
Then tell the following story:
The story goes that a husband and wife were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. The wife was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and she was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. The wife knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of her and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.
The wife wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.
He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
"Look at it." He said. "Read what it says." She read the words " United States of America " "No, not that; read further." "One cent?" "No, keep reading." "In God we Trust?" "Yes!" "And?" "And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!
This man knew the power of simple, daily Christian object lessons!
We always hear stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, etc. Here's a story that gives this a twist and hopefully a tool to turn our thoughts toward God.
Just like in Jesus day we have to pay taxes to the government, but only God deserves our trust and devotion.
Mark 12:17 "Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him." (This same event and statement are also contained in Matthew 22 and Luke 20).
Let's let a penny remind us just like the man in the story to stop and thank God for all His blessings and also to make sure we are trusting Him in our lives at that very moment.
Also, the next time you use the phrase "a penny for your thoughts," these Christian object lessons can remind you that even a small penny really can bring your thoughts back to God.
End this Christian object lesson by giving everyone a new shiny penny and reading in unison "In God We Trust!"
Pennies can also teach a great identity object lesson about self worth and each person's value to God whether we are dingy & dirty or clean & shiny. Romans 5:8 is used in this Bible lesson to demonstrate God's unconditional love for us. He values us and has marked us with His image. Kids as well as adults need this simple reminder every time we see a penny!
You probably have seen this science object lesson using vinegar & salt to shine up a penny to illustrate Jesus cleansing or "sanctifying" us. Tony Kramer at Ministry-to-Children.com has a great free printable lesson as well as a video demonstrating this Christian object lesson.
Scripture used is: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV
The staff over at Mr. Mark's Classroom does a great job using a penny to teach about missions as it becomes a reminder to pray and support missions. This lesson could even plant the seed of missions in the heart of a future missionary!
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