Two Wednesday nights a month, I have the privilege of teaching the 2nd and 3rd graders at my church. I look forward to these moments I am given with the kids. I usually spend a few hours preparing a lesson, and praying about what I will say to them.
This week we were reading in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. We were discussing spiritual gifts and the fact that we are all part of one body in Christ. "God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful." 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7 (The Message)
To illustrate this point, I had the kids work with play dough while I read through the chapter in the Bible. I find the kids listen so much better if their hands are busy with a simple task. I use play dough a lot when we are reading in the Bible. It also helps illustrate the point even further.
Before I began reading, I assigned a different body part to each child. While I read, they designed and perfected their part. When we finished, we discussed how each part is very special, but is missing something when it is off by itself. The parts couldn't accomplish much all alone. You couldn't tell the foot to go tell someone about Jesus. The foot doesn't have a mouth to speak. You can't tell a head to go somewhere, it needs the neck and other parts to move it there. Each part is important and necessary to achieve God's plan.
The body parts aren't as useful alone, BUT when we all put our parts together, it makes one body, just like we are one in Christ. We all bring different things to the world, but our goal is the same. We need each other. We each have different spiritual gifts that God has given us. They work best together, not separate. Together we can accomplish a lot for God.
To illustrate the point a little further to the kids, I put together a worksheet for them to fill out. This is not their typical paper they fill out in class. It's going to require some research and help from other members in the church. It's homework they must bring back next week!
There are arrows pointing to all different parts of the body. For each arrow, they must find someone in the church who fills that part. The kid's not only need the person's signature on the arrow; they also need to write down what that person's spiritual gift is. God has given each of us a gift to be used for Him. It's a treasure that must be found.
"A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other."
1 Corinthians 12:7
They could be the feet, bringing the good news about Jesus to others, teaching what they know.
They could be the nose, sniffing out good vs. evil. Having discernment is very important.
They could be the hands, serving people who have needs.
They could be the knees, bending down praying for others to be healed.
The list of parts goes on and on...
To help the kids figure out their own gift, I printed out several copies of a Spiritual Gifts Test I found online. The kids had a lot of fun ranking the questions from 1 to 5. Even the ones who didn't like tests, responded well to this survey. I did need to help a few kids add up their scores, but several could do it on their own. They were so excited after taking the test to see what gift God had given them. After the kids figured out their gift, they each took turns writing their signature and gift on their classmates worksheet.
"If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness. You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:26-27