Monday, March 19, 2007

Coveting

Throughout the 2006 – 2007 school year I have been teaching my way through the Ten Commandments during the teaching time of our church’s Awana program. Last night was the final installment of these exploratory and explanatory lessons from God’s moral law as given to Moses. On many of the lessons I felt a bit like I was simply clubbing the children over the head with something that they have (hopefully) been taught by their parents for years.

Well, last night I was able to teach on the sin of coveting. For some reason this subject caused me a little pause in the early part of my preparation. It was nothing similar to the concern or trepidation that I felt when I was preparing to speak to eight to twelve year-old children about adultery without telling them more than they should hear (there is a lot of difference in those four or five years), or without producing premature questions or thoughts in their little and (somewhat) innocent minds. I think that I was afraid that the children might not grasp the concept of coveting, but they caught on pretty quick.

In order to grab and maintain their attention as well as convey a theme we played hangman. It is one of my favorite ways to do something a little different and fun, but yet still remain on task while setting a foundation for a thorough lesson. The words “want”, “envy”, “T.V. Commercials”, “desire”, and finally “covet” were the ones that we looked at in order to give the children a good idea of the scope of coveting.

Coveting is basically wanting, or desiring, to have something that you do not currently have. The children seemed to be getting it and I was very pleased with the attentiveness as well as the participation during the teaching (non-hangman) time. After I gave examples of coveting that are so easy for kids (young and old alike) to fall into at almost any time, I closed by asking them how we now use the knowledge of these commandments.

One of the main purposes for the Christian in life is to evangelize and spread the message of the Bible to those who are not saved. I asked the children that when they witness and say that “Jesus can save you,” or “Jesus saves,” the question that many people will ask is, “Save me from what?” Well, we can use the Ten Commandments to show anyone that God has this standard (don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t hate, don’t covet, etc) and that by breaking His law, He must punish us. We use this Law to show people exactly how we have offended God, and with a little bit of effort we can also show that we offend God constantly in almost all of these areas.

I was very content with my lesson in that I thought that the children understood what I was trying to say and that they had a mental understanding of some areas of potential coveting that they could watch out for. I closed the lesson with a prayer that they children (as well as myself) would think about the Ten Commandments when we pray so that we can see ourselves more and more clearly as God sees us and so that we would be more mindful of our future actions.

After the closing prayer I dismissed the children and began packing up in order to head home. I was caught off guard when a sweet little girl (4th grade) came up and asked me this question. “Is it a sin to want something for your birthday?” Wow! I was very blessed and impressed by this question. I was blessed because it showed that she had understood the lesson about coveting enough to apply it to her own life in a way that I had not described. I was blessed because it is such a sweet thing to hear a child (or anyone for that matter) try to determine if something that they do is sinful. This was truly a joyful experience and opportunity for me.

This question is a delicate one, and I didn’t want to put her off into a ditch on either side. Simply wanting a new toy or new clothes for your birthday is not coveting. However, it is when we move from simply thinking “I could use that…” or “It would be fun to have…” over to a consuming desire for stuff and things that catch our eye. Basically, if I want something or multiple things so much that this desire begins to consume me, that is where it crosses the line into coveting.

I’m not sure how much that little girl liked my answer to her question, but I sure am grateful and very blessed that she is at least struggling with how to apply the 10th commandment to her young life.

To God alone be the glory.

1 comment:

Nate J. said...

I want . . . (is that coveting?) I mean, I would like to tell you that I'm glad you were able to make it through all 10 of the Commandments with the AWANA kids. I'm sure they will never forget that time. Hopefully, these Commandments will serve as the basis for their morality and they will (more importantly) point them to their need for a Savior. What topic do you think you will teach next? Maybe I should say it this way - what other areas of Scripture do you think are vital for children to grasp? I say this realizing that we want them to learn as much Scripture as possible, but where do we start?
Miss seeing you around. Congratts on the girl soon to come!
Nate (and Lisa)

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