Our family is continuing its pursuit to incorporate God’s Word into our kid’s lives. This will be the second family devotional we did in the Proverbs for Kids series. You can check out the first one here.
We’ve been focusing on Proverbs 19:17:
If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and he will repay you!
Throughout the past few days, we’ve attempted to understand and apply this verse in our home.
We Talked About It
We discussed the verse and asked our littles “What does it mean to you?” “And, do you think it means that God will literally repay us with money?” We then talked about what exactly the verse meant by “poor”. By definition, this doesn’t only describe someone financially poor, but also the “low” and the “weak”.
We Asked Hard Questions
When I consider the privileged life we have, it’s hard to know the best ways to teach this truth to my kids. For years I’ve struggled with guilt and asked God, “why do I get to live this way while others struggle so much to survive?” I’m blessed to be around wise people that can share this struggle and offer spiritual and Biblical wisdom to help me grow my understanding of God and how He approaches this subject. I’m not saying I have the answers. But, I do feel farther down the road than a few years ago. Here are some questions I asked my 6 year old.
Does God love people more or less because of how much they own?
Why does God let there be poor people?
He was quick to say, “No” to the first question.
The second one stumped him though.
It’s hard for us to understand that a good God could allow this sort of pain in the world. As Explore God discusses, kindness and goodness are different…and that sometimes pain is actually for our good.
His love is greater than we can understand. I mean, he gave us a planet full of resources! But the fall of man has led to generations of greed, pride and laziness.
I hope this conversation is as good for your family as it was for ours! I think it’s so good for kids to realize that parents don’t understand all there is know about God – and that it’s ok.
We Kept it in a Visible Place
We got back in the habit of keeping our scripture in the most popular place in our home – the kitchen. Seeing this verse throughout the day makes it easier to think about, talk about and pray about as we go.
We Made a Meal for Children’s Home
Normally, I’d need to find an object lesson for kids in order to hit this message home. Luckily, I go to an awesome church that challenges small groups to serve the community each month. This week, our group gathered together to bake a homemade meal for kids at the local children’s home.
I discussed with my boys that we were making a meal and giving treats to boys that were “poor” and “low” in spirit. These kiddos are without parents of their own to pour into them. While they have amazing foster parents, they must share their attention with a group of other boys.
We also put together little “movie night packs” for them to enjoy. Kids of all ages loved putting these together and writing notes for the foster kiddos.
How could your family tangibly care for the poor? Is there a local food pantry you could support – whether by serving or by gathering goods? Is there a homeless shelter you could round up clothes, shoes and toiletries for? Is there an initiative your church already champions that you could “find your place” in, as a family? Whether this is a one time project, or one you could do in an ongoing capacity, seek to find a way to make a real difference in the your community. Helping our kiddos get outside themselves is a wonderful way to teach an “object lesson” to bring this truth to life.
We blessed the meal we made for the children’s home, and for the boys that would partake of it. We prayed for our friends (that we haven’t met) in India, Kenya and Guatemala who suffer poverty and live on rice every day. I also prompted all my littles to thank God for what they have – listing at least three things they are thankful for.
We Watched a Video Series
I’m thrilled that I stumbled upon this video series. It captivated my oldest son’s attention and helped him wrap his mind around poverty. My 4-year-olds weren’t engaged, but my 6-year-old sat through all of them and talked without me throughout each of them. I recommend it!
*Parenting Lesson Learned*
Sometimes I need to learn to just pause. When I asked my oldest son the “hard questions” I think I should’ve given a longer pause.
I should’ve let the question simmer throughout the afternoon. I should’ve prompted Him to pray about it. I could’ve asked Him to consult scripture (with my help). But when he just sat there and said, “I don’t know” I was quick to share what I have learned. Teaching is a good thing. As is imparting wisdom.
But I think I could’ve spurred him to think critically by giving him more time and asking more follow up questions like, “If God is like our parent, how does that change how you’d process this question?” and “Knowing that God is love, and we’re made in His image, what might our responsibility be with the poor?”
*featured photo of the Bible is by Andrew Seaman*