*About twice a month, we try to post the outline of a family devotion that you and your kids can do together. Carve out some time with your kids for a fun and creative discussion this week!
Teaching Goal: God loves us for who we are, not what we do.
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32 Parable of the Lost Son
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Baseball or other trading cards
Lesson and Discussion:
*Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your own words.
Tell the story of the Prodigal Son in your own words. If your children are familiar with the story then you may ask your children to tell you the story. Fill in the gaps. Emphasize the unwise decisions that the younger son made and how he ended up eating with the pigs. He finally decided to come home and his dad met him with open arms, hugs, and kisses.
Even though the younger son made some bad choices and did some really bad things, his father still loved him. I want you to know that when you make bad choices and do bad things, it makes me sad but it does not change my love for you.
Jesus tells us this story because in some ways each one of us is the lost son, and he wants us to know that God our Heavenly Father loves us no matter what bad things we have done. God loves to hear us say, “I’m sorry,” change our behavior, and come home.
Give each person a piece of paper. Let’s say that this is paper that we purchased to write on. Follow me and do what I do. Go outside, in the garage or somewhere that you can get the paper really dirty. Rub it in the dirt. Flick a few drops of water on the paper and crumple it up. Crunch the paper into a small ball in your hand. Now, unfold it. Is this still good paper for writing? Would your teacher accept homework turned in on this paper? Should we use it or throw it away? Throw it away because it has lost its value as writing paper.
Take out the $20 bill. Now, I’m going to do the same thing with this $20 bill. Rub it in dirt, flick some water on it, crumple it up and then unfold it. Should I throw it away? NO! Why not? Because it is still worth $20. We had two pieces of paper but one did not lose its value. The paper that is used to make a $20 bill is still valuable because the U.S. Government has added value to the piece of paper. The U.S. Government has said that even if it is dirty, wet, or crumpled, the bill is worth $20.
Just like the U.S. Government has added value to the $20 bill, God has added value to you. When you become a Christian and ask Jesus to live in your heart, he makes you clean and new again. Jesus is the added value in our lives. So even if you make sinful choices, Jesus still lives in you. When God looks at you he sees past all of the dirty sin to the beautiful heart Jesus is at work creating in you.
You can use baseball cards or other trading cards that are popular with the kids. If your kids are collectors you can ask them why certain cards have more value than others. This example uses baseball cards.
In general, two things tend to add value to baseball cards: how rare the card is and how unique the player on the card is. Here are two baseball cards. They are made out of the same kind of paper. Both have a picture on the front of a baseball player. If I tried to sell them, I would get a lot more for this one. Why? Let the children guess and share their answers. This card has a picture of one of the best players in baseball. This card has a picture of a very average player. The card of the good player is worth more because he hits more home runs, steals bases, pitches better, etc. The picture of a better player adds value to the piece of cardboard and people are willing to pay more for it. You can compare a variety of cards and even share stories behind why you might have collected the cards. If they are cards that belong to your children, listen to them talk about the cards and learn why they value them.
As Christians, believers in Jesus, we have added value. In the same way that the good player adds value to the card, Jesus adds value to us. Listen to what the Bible says about us, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” We are royal priests. When God looks at us he sees Jesus in our lives. We have added value.
If you liked this devotion idea, there are hundreds more available from Family Time Training. See the link on the right side of this page for more information.