Children love the idea of finding hidden treasures. Honestly, don’t we ALL enjoy the thought of finding hidden treasures?
Jesus must have known this when he used treasure and a valuable pearl to describe the Kingdom of Heaven.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it”. Matthew 13:44-46 New International Version (NIV)
In the Parables of a Hidden Treasure and a Valuable Pearl, when a man found a treasure he hid it in a field and then sold everything he had to buy the field. Another man sold everything he had to buy a pearl of great value. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like this. When we find God we should do everything we can to follow him.
Here are some ways to help children experience the Parable:
Have children rewrite the parable using items of value to them. The treasure might be a million dollars or a huge diamond.
Write “God is MY Treasure” at the top of a poster board or large piece of paper. Bring catalogues, magazines, real estate ads and automobile ads to class and let the children cut out pictures of valuable things. Glue all of the pictures onto the poster. Discuss as you work.
Make a treasure box and decorate it with glitter, beautiful stones, etc. Write “God” on the inside of the box.
For review let the children choose a “treasure” out of a treasure box when they answer a question correctly.
Ask a jeweller how much pearls cost. Ask if he or she knows the value of the world’s most valuable pearls. Share the information with the class.
Find out if your public library has good picture books about how pearls are formed. Bring the books to class to show the children.
Play hangman using words from today’s story (treasure, Matthew, pearl, merchant, etc.)
Draw a vertical line down the centre of a chalk/white board. Title one column with “God’s Treasures” and title the other “Man’s Treasures”. Ask the children to help you think of items to write in each column. Discuss the value of each. Read Matthew 6:19-21. (This application idea is called Drawing Contrasts.)
In the rush to find scissors and glue we should not neglect the natural supplies God has provided as teaching resources.
We do not teach alone. We join the Master Teacher, the Creator, who is already using his creation to draw people to Himself:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4, NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NIV)
A student I supervise, Cristy, recently encouraged a group of teachers to bring God’s teaching resources into our classrooms. Cristy sent a group of teachers outside the building to find and bring back items that teach about God. (She only allowed them 3 minutes!).
Here are the types items these teachers found:
A leaf to illustrate the waving of the palm leaves when Jesus entered Jerusalem in his Triumphal Entry.
We thought this might be more of a challenge when we taught the same workshop in Metro Manila (Philippines). The church building we were in was surrounded by a parking lot devoid of plants and next to a busy street. Still, when Cristy sent the teachers out they quickly adapted and came back with a wonderful collection of both natural and other teaching items including items such as:
Pointing out God’s creation when we teach brings a profound richness into what we are sharing. In the years to come children may forget a picture used for illustration or a worksheet. But, for the rest of their lives they will continue to see leaves and stones and soil. Connecting these things with spiritual lessons now will mean that the lessons will be reinforced over and over.
I can just imagine the future when one of my students, as an elderly person, picking up a stone and telling his or her grandchild about how the stone was rolled away from the tomb.
When you teach this story invite some older Christian brother and sisters to attend your class and spend time with the children. Ask the guests to talk about their faith and how they serve God. They could talk about their prayer life or show photos of things they have done in their life.
Another way to help children and older people relate to each other is to have them participate in an activity together. Hand-prints are easy and fun!