Unless your kids live in a farming community, I bet most of them have never heard of the concept of gleaning. Gleaning is really just a fancy term used for gathering what is left over from the harvest of a field. For example, after a farmer harvests his field of corn, he might let neighbors or strangers in need come into his field and gather or glean what he left behind.
Here's an object lesson that will help your kids learn about the importance of becoming good gleaners of all that God gives to them through "fields" such as prayer and Bible Study.
I like to turn my object lessons into something I call 3-Point Sermons for Kids. This lesson focuses on the Scripture passage of Ruth 2:17, which says, "So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening."(NIV)
Here's What You Do:
The object you will use for this lesson will be a basket.
When you get to point 3, you might want to have some pictures of different Bible stories or verses that you could place in your basket.
Hold up your basket and ask the following questions to help stimulate discussion.
1. What am I holding? (Wait for answers such as "a basket".)
2. What is a basket for? (Wait for answers such as "you carry things in it".)
3. Why would a farmer ever use a basket? (Wait for answers. If they have a hard time, explain that a farmer might use a basket to gather the food that he has grown.)
4. Ask a child to read Ruth 2:17. (I used the NIV version.)
5. Say the following: "This verse shows us that God wants us to become good gleaners just like Ruth was. Let's learn 3 important points about this truth."
Do you know what "gleaning in the field" means? It's really just a fancy term used for gathering what is left over from the harvest of a field. For example, after a farmer harvests his field of corn, he might let neighbors or strangers in need come into his field and gather or glean what he left behind. Gleaning is done little by little.
Now let's picture God's field. God doesn't have vegetables in His field. Instead, His field is full of prayers and Bible verses that He wants us to feed on so our spirits don't grow weak or tired. Just like your body needs food, your spirit needs food too. Here are some ways you can go gleaning in God's field.
1. Good gleaners gather their food little by little. Prayer can happen little by little. You might need to pray for some people and situations for a long time. Be sure not to give up on praying. God hears each and every prayer you pray.
2. Good gleaners keep their eyes open in the field. This means that you should pay careful attention to each Bible verse you read.
3. Good gleaners pick up everything they find. This means that you shouldn't just listen to the Bible lessons that keep your interest. You should try and learn to understand all of God's Word.
4. Good gleaners make sure they hold on to all they've gathered. This means you should be careful to remember what you learned about God.
5. If you are hungry for God, be a wise gleaner and go learn all you can about Him.
After your lesson is over, you could have the children create a basket from construction paper and have them fill their baskets with written Bible verses and titles of stories they have heard. You could have them write Ruth 2:17 on the handles. Have fun!
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Kathy Vincent is the director of a performing ministry for children called The Scripture Lady and has been traveling around Southern California for the past 14 years ministering to preschoolers and elementary aged children with the Word of God through musical, thematic presentations.
She is also a regular seminar speaker, author/creator of over 30 products for the Christian children's worker and a veteran homeschooling mom of two.
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