We had our “family night” last night and decided to focus on not letting “things” become more important than God. As we started I told Rilyn and Ella that we were going to pretend we have to leave our house quickly. We have only 5 minutes to gather up our favorite toys, books, stuffed animals. Everything you are going to take must fit in your backpack. When Ella walked in the room after the timer went off she told us, “I’m ready to go to heaven!” I’m pretty sure she really thought that is where we were going. So, after the time was up, we looked through each of their backpacks and discussed why they selected each item.

Rilyn’s backpack of precious ‘stuff’

Next, we read Matthew 19:23-24 Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I held up a needle and explained.

eye of the needle

It is impossible for a camel to get through this hole in the needle! Jesus is saying that it is impossible for a rich man to get to heaven. Why? Because when the rich man dies, he is no longer rich as the world defines rich, he can not take his stuff with him! The rich man and the poor man go to heaven with the same amount of material possessions-nothing!
(After this, Rilyn began crying because daddy told her she could not take her bear to heaven. Ella then began crying because daddy told her no blankie either!) Ahem- BUT you don’t need to be sad girls because there is even better things in heaven then bears and blankies! I can’t wait to go to heaven to find out! To which Rilyn replied, “Is there even a gold kitchen?!?” We’ll have to see…;-)

Alright, let’s put on your backpacks and get ready to play a game! You have to try and get through this tunnel with your backpack on without messing up the tunnel! (You obviously make the tunnel low enough so that they can not do this successfully.)

oops, can’t seem to go through this right!
Ella collapsed our tunnel with her backpack

So, in order for the kids to succeed, they will have to leave behind their backpacks full of stuff.

What a load off!

You then ask the kids how it felt to leave their things behind?
Rilyn said, “It was easy because then I knew I could get through the tunnel and not mess it up.”

Jesus talks a lot about money and things. He warns us not to love toys, our home, etc. more than God. (Give examples: not giving to the poor; reading all kinds of books, but not the Bible…)

In the first activity you had to pack your backpack. Is there anything in your backpack that reminds you of God? (Sadly, neither girls thought to pack their Bibles…sigh.)
In the second activity we had to crawl through a tunnel. What if our house had been on fire and we had to crawl out to get out safely? People who try to escape the fire and cling to things may not get out safely. Jesus’ story is about a man wanting to get to heaven. We need to be careful not to let “things” become more important than God.

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May 2023

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