Giving (The Widow's Gift)

The Widow’s Gift (Mark 12. 41-44 Luke 21. 1-4)

First telephone the school and make a request for six or eight* volunteers who will be willing to spend five minutes listening to instructions about the drama below, before the assembly begins. Explain the swaggering boastful way in which the first five characters will enter, and receive their applause. Explain also how the sixth character must enter and depart. Have props of money bags, wallets, cards etc. All the characters have to do is mime to the words they hear. Character 5, ‘Mr Filthy rich can also have 2 bodyguards. *optional

Props: stool, paper money, wallet, handbag and purse, chequebook, card, and strong ‘Treasury’ box (cardboard box)

Use Monopoly money*

Narrator: At this time of year (Oct/Nov) we think a lot about GIVING.

Some people give gifts for ‘Harvest Celebrations’; many people buy ‘poppies’, not only to support injured soldiers, but also to support the families of those soldiers who have died because of war. We dress up and give a donation for ‘Children in Need’, and we fill gift boxes for ‘Operation Christmas Child’. We also look ahead to Christmas and think about what kind of gifts we’ll give to those we love.

So it is a good time to consider how we should give and why we should give?

Here is a story about Jesus watching the many kinds of people who came to the temple to give gifts. What can we learn from this story?

Characters in order of entry:

Mr Cash

Miss Moneybags

Mr Verywelloff

Miss Worthapacket

Mr Filthyrich + 2 bodyguards

The poor widow

Narrator: (sits on a stool and represents Jesus watching) Jesus entered the temple and sat down in a place called the Treasury. This was the place where men and women came to give gifts. They would put their money into large collecting boxes called Trumpets, which were narrow at the top, but wide at the bottom.

Money collected in one box would go to buy wood with which to burn sacrifices, money in another would be for the incense used in prayer, another would be to keep the temple in good order, and so on. There were thirteen boxes altogether all there for different purposes. Today we have just one box! (point to Treasury box)

As Jesus sat there watching, in came a man called Mr Cash. (enter first rich person who swaggers in) Mr Cash looked around to make sure that all the people around him would see the generous gift he was putting into the collection box.

He opened a big fat wallet, and took out some money, and waved it around. He gave . . . not 10 not 20 not 30 not 40 not 50 not 60 not 70 not 80 not 90 but

100 pounds! (Sounds of oohs and aahs and claps; the character receives everyone’s praise! Invite the audience to join in and help with the counting)

Next in came a lady called Miss Moneybags (enter second rich person who bounces in)

Miss Moneybags looked around to make sure that all the people around her would see the generous gift she was putting into the collection box.

She opened her large handbag slowly, took out her leather purse and she gave . . . not 100 not 200 not 300 not 400 not 500 not 600 not 700 not 800 not 900 but 1000 pounds!

(Sounds of oohs and aahs and claps; the character receives everyone’s praise!)

Then not long after in came a man called Mr Verywelloff (enter third rich person who strolls in) Mr Verywelloff looked around to make sure that all the people around him would see the generous gift he was putting into the collection box.

He got out his chequebook, and wrote out a cheque for a very large amount and

He gave . . . not 1,000 not 2,000 not 3,000 not 4,000 not 5,000 not 6,000 not 7,000 not 8,000 not 9,000 but 10,000 pounds!

(Sounds of oohs and aahs and claps; the character receives everyone’s praise!)

Next in came a very wealthy woman, called Mrs Worthapacket. (enter fourth rich person who strides in) Miss Worthapacket looked around to make sure that all the people around her would see the generous gift she was putting into the collection box.

She took out her American Express card, gave her pin number and her security code and pledged a superb amount. (toy telephone may be used here)

. . . not 10,000 not 20,000 not 30,000 not 40,000 not 50,000 not 60,000 not 70,000 not 80,000 not 90,000 but 100,000 pounds!

(Sounds of oohs and aahs and claps; the character receives everyone’s praise!)

Then everyone made way for a man called Mr Filthyrich. (enter fifth rich person who swaggers in) Mr Filthyrich looked around to make sure that all the people around him would see the generous gift he was putting into the collection box. He came in accompanied by his personal security guards, and he handed over a large plastic bag, full of money. You’ll never guess how much there was inside it?

. . . not 100,000 not 200,000 not 300,000 not 400,000 not 500,000 not 600,000 not 700,000 not 800,000 not 900,000 but 1 million pounds!

No wonder he needed bodyguards!

(Sounds of oohs and aahs and claps; the character receives everyone’s praise!)

Everyone was amazed at the generosity of these rich people.

Finally in hobbled a very poor lady; an old widow who had lived all alone since her husband died. She reached into her little pocket, took out the two small coins, and she dropped them carefully into the collection box. No-one really noticed her, but Jesus did.

As the rich people hurried out of the temple, looking very smug, she stood to one side to let them pass. Then she shuffled away.

‘Did you notice that?’ Jesus asked his friends. ‘Did you see what happened? The rich people all gave a lot, but it was only a tiny part of what they owned. Whereas that poor lady, whose husband died not long ago, gave all she had to live on!’

Who do you think gave the most? Was it the first person Mr Cash? Was it the second etc..?

The bible teaches us that:

· God loves a cheerful giver, one who does not give grudgingly.

· We should not be looking to be praised or thanked!

· We shouldn’t be hoping others will notice!

· We shouldn’t just give to earn points or get medals, or even so we will enter heaven one day.

· We shouldn’t feel guilty because we can’t afford what others can give, but we should give what we are able to give!

· We should give because we love and care for our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

· Giving is not just about money…

We are called to care for the hungry and the thirsty;

those who are far from home and living in a strange land;

for the homeless and those who can’t afford clothing;

and for those who suffer in prison.

Jesus said when you show your love to others, you are showing it to me!

You do it to me.

Song: When I needed a neighbour, explaining each verse as we sing it.

God travels with us when we do his work.