Share Your Blessings
"Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers."
Thanksgiving is an excellent time to help children focus on sharing blessings and time with those in need. One of the significant reasons that the New Testament church grew rapidly was the realization that Christians loved and served others — both people of faith and non-believers.
Explain to the children that the Bible uses the term "saints" to refer to other Christians and the word "strangers" to refer to people who were not Christian believers.
Encourage the children to participate in a project for Thanksgiving that will be a blessing to people of all faith traditions and to non-believers. It is usually quite easy to learn about various local community needs during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Often local food pantries and outreach centers are in desperate need of certain items to meet the holiday rush. Consider asking one of these community outreach ministries for a list of items that are not normally contributed during this season. For instance, most food pantries have an adequate supply of traditional Thanksgiving menu items, but may have a shortage of infant formula or baby food. If you are unable to discover a local community need, then consider contacting the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and assisting with the recovery from the Florida hurricanes. The UMCOR website (http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor) shares many needs, including a list of specific items included in "flood buckets." Obtain real life stories and pictures from survivors who have been affected by the hurricanes. Share those stories with the children.
Photograph the children as they participate in these mission efforts and publish them in your church newsletter, on the church website, and in the local community newspaper. (Be sure to obtain written permission from the parent[s] or legal guardian before publishing a child's photograph.) Close in prayer, asking God to help the children help others as good stewards of their blessings. Also pray for the people the children are helping.
Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings you have given us. Help us to be a blessing to the survivors of the recent hurricanes (substitute other suitable words for a local mission project). We thank you that you love these people and that you will watch over them and help them. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
- What did you learn about the effects of the hurricanes on the survivors? (Substitute other suitable words for a local mission project.)
- What are some of your blessings that you can share with these people?
- How do you think that you would respond if you lost your home and items that were important to your family? (Substitute other suitable words for a local mission project.)
- What are some ways in the future that we can help them?