The Widow’s Mite


October 14 - November 11, 2001






Scripture:      Mark 12: 41-44


Concepts:           A gift is special when it is a sacrifice.

                                    An offering can be money, time or talents.


Objectives:     This workshop will focus on helping children understand the “spirit of giving”.  Jesus taught that the widow’s gift was more valuable because she was sacrificing so much to give it.  This suggests that our gifts are more special, too, when we sacrifice or “give-up” something.  Children will explore this idea of  “giving up” (sacrificing) in their gifts to others.  They will also discuss that gifts are not always money or presents, but can be time or a talent shared with someone as well.  



Welcome and Introductions:

  1. Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.
  2. Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to learn more about giving.


Bible Story: 

  1. For the first two weeks of the lesson, it is recommended that the class read the story from the Bible—Mark 12: 41-44.  If these groups are younger children, the workshop leader could read it to the class, but if it is an older group, have the children take turns reading verses.
  2. After reading the story—or on the third-fifth weeks of the rotation when the children are already familiar with the story, begin a discussion of it with the following ideas.          What was different about the widow’s gift compared to the rich givers? ­ The widow was very poor.  The other people had plenty of money.  The widow gave only a few pennies but the rich people gave many dollars.  The rich people didn’t need the money they gave; it was extra.  The widow gave all the money she had.                                      Jesus said the widow’s gift was bigger than all the others.  How can that be? --  Jesus was thinking about the effect the gift had on the giver when he said this.  For the widow, the gift was everything she had.  She could not give any more even if she wanted to.  But for the rich people, it was just a little bit of what they had.  Jesus said that made the widow’s gift much more valuable even though in dollars it was not worth as much as what the rich people gave. 
  3. WORKSHOP LEADER NOTE:  This would be a good time to introduce the word “sacrifice”.  Help the children understand that a sacrifice is something that requires the giver to “give up” something.  The giver is not just giving something unneeded or unimportant to them.  Rather when we give sacrificially, it makes a difference to us and we have to do without something because of what we have given up.  The widow is certainly an example of this.
  4. Continue the discussion with the following question.                                                                   Is giving money or buying presents the only things that we have to give?  -- No, we can give anything we have; our time, and any talents or abilities we have.                                   What might be some examples of this? -- Giving our time to visit someone who is sick or in a nursing home.  Sending a card to someone who has a death in the family.  Singing in the choir for worship.  Helping a younger child with homework.
  5. What does that tell us about our gifts?The widow could not give very much, but she gave what she could.  The widow was giving to the church even when she was poor.                                                                       What do you think Jesus is saying about giving in this story? ­ Opinions will vary, but help the discussion move toward the following ideas:  We should have to “give up” something when we give to others.  Our giving should not just be our extra money, but we should give enough that we notice that we have given something—we might have to do without something so that we can give to God.



Note:  There are 5 short skits rather than one longer script.  Each skit has 2 characters.  If time is a problem, or class size complicates equal participation, one or two skits could be eliminated. 

  1. Divide the class into 5 groups.  Children can decide who will be a puppeteer and who will speak within each group.  Depending on class size, some children may do both reading and acting—or one child could do all the acting (puppeteering) or all the reading. 
  2. Give each group a skit script and two puppets. 
  3. Allow the groups 5 minutes or so to practice their script.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should “speak” the voices while the children act them out. You may want to do this for the other grades as well to keep the pace moving and to allow the children to focus on what is being said and not the mechanics of reading.
  4. If you have a large group of children, you may repeat the skits so everyone has a turn.
  5. After each skit, the workshop leader could ask the puppet a question about some aspect of the skit scenario. “ The puppets should respond. Eg. Speaking directly to the puppet “Don’t you wish you could spend that money on something for yourself?”
  6. At the end of each skit, ask the performers to sit down and have a brief discussion about which gift in the skit would be considered “special”, “best”, or “most valuable” by Jesus based on the Widow’s Mite story.
  7. Act the out the subsequent skits allowing time for a brief discussion at the end of each.




Spend a few minutes talking about how sacrificial giving makes the giver feel.  Ask the children how they feel when they give a gift they have made or they have earned the money to buy.  Do they feel differently when they have been involved in the giving in these ways rather than a parent just buying something for them to give?   Help the children realize that even when they “given-up” something they can feel good about how much they have done for someone else—what they have given instead. 



Reflection Time:

  1. At 10:35 a.m. ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers.  Tell the younger children to write the name of a friend or relative at the top of the journal page. Tell the older children to write the name of relative at the top of the page and the name of a friend about half way down the page.  These names can be anyone they know well and to whom they would like to give a gift.  Below each name, ask the children to write at least three gifts they could give this person that they would not buy at a store. 
  2. At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer:  Close with a simple prayer about giving, asking God to help us give generously and cheerfully.  Ask God to help us see ways we can give to others that does not involve money. 


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up as they wait for their parents to arrive.  Put pillows behind stage area. Put away boom box, workshop bin, etc


Teacher preparation in advance:


1.      Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

2.      Make copies of each script page.  Cut the scripts into pieces so that each skit script can be given to a different group.  Post the second copy of the script behind the stage so puppeteers can refer to it.

3.      Prepare a closing prayer.

4.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, along with meditative music for reflection time.



1. Copies of the script.




LEADER NOTE:  These are short skits.  Following each skit, stop the action and hold a brief discussion with the children about the gifts being given.  What are the people in the stories sacrificing or not sacrificing?  It seems worthy to note that in the Widow’s Mite story, Jesus did not say the gifts from the rich people were not good—or that they should not have given them—only that the gift from the widow was more sacrificial.  The criteria of sacrifice—what the giver had to “give-up”—can be used to help the children think about sacrificial giving. 







MRS SMITH:  “Did you hear about that bad tornado in South Carolina?”


MRS. WILSON:  “Yes, I sent a check for $500 last week.  I just got a raise.”


MRS. SMITH: “That’s so generous!  That money can really help a lot of people!  You know I just lost my job so I can’t give such a big gift as yours.  I’m leaving tomorrow to go to South Carolina, though.  I’ll be working at a Red Cross shelter for 10 days.  It must be awful for the people who lost their homes.”








JORDAN:  “Hey, you should see this great e-mail card I sent Grandma for her birthday!  She’ll love it!  It has this cute little bug that sings and dances!  You can even play a game with the bug!  Grandma will be so surprised!”


TAYLOR:  “I didn’t do anything like that.  I wrote Grandma a letter on some notebook paper.  I told her about school and I tried to draw a picture of that turtle we found in the backyard last week.  I said ‘Happy Birthday’ at the end.”







MICHAEL:  “John, can you go to the Hurricane’s game with me on Friday?”


JOHN:  “That would be great!  I’d love to go.”


MICHAEL:  “Mom says the game will be over about 10 or a little later.  You can just spend the night here afterward.  That would work out great!”


JOHN:  “I’ve never been to a Hurricane’s game before.  This will be super!”


MICHAEL:  “Ok, we’ll pick you up about 6 on Friday.”


JOHN: “No, wait a minute.  I’d better think about this a little bit.”


MICHAEL:  “Hey, wait, what’s wrong?  I thought you wanted to go!”


JOHN:  “I do.  I really do.  But…  well … my neighbor just had a new baby.  She’s got a little 3-year old, too.  I told her I’d play with the little boy on Saturday so she only had one kid around for awhile.  He’s coming to our house at 8 Saturday morning and staying ‘til lunch.”


MICHAEL:  “Don’t worry about that.  Just give the baby a new rattle and give the little boy an old truck of yours or something.  That’ll be the same and you can still come with me.”   








JENNIFER:  “You know how Kaitlin loves Winnie the Pooh?  I found some fabric with the Pooh characters on it and I made a pillowcase for her.  Don’t you think she’ll like that for her birthday?  It took me about two hours to make it.  My aunt helped me with it.”


AMANDA:  “Well, I don’t know about a pillowcase.  Surely she’s already got plenty of those.  But I got her the newest CD!  No one has it yet.  She’s going to love it!” 





MR. JOHNSON:  “I don’t need these old tools anymore.  I got this new set last Christmas.  I think I’ll give the old ones to the Dorcas shop.  Let’s go now and take them there.”


MRS. JOHNSON:  “Well, I can’t go now.  I was planning to go to the Food Bank.  The newspaper said they needed help sorting all the cans they collected at the State Fair.  I’ll be gone until about 4 o’clock.  Will you go with me to help?”