The purpose of this activity is to help your children understand how much they really have in comparison to the rest of the world. You will be making a treasure chest or treasure chest poster with your children to help them focus on storing up treasure in heaven.
Begin by reading this summary of an idea put forth by Phillip M. Harter, MD, FCAP (Stanford University of Medicine):
If we were to shrink the earth’s population into a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following. There would be: 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, 8 Africans, 52 females and 48 males, 70 non-white and 30 white, 70 non-Christian and 30 Christian . . . 6 people would possess 59 per cent of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be North American; 80 would live in substandard housing; 70 would be unable to read; 50 would suffer from malnutrition; 1 would be near life; 1 would be near death; 1 would have a college education and 1 would own a computer.
Review this statement and highlight sections that would relate to your children’s lives. Paraphrase these concepts as necessary to explain to your children how fortunate they really are. For example, “50 would suffer from malnutrition” could be explained to children by getting out some stuffed animals or dolls. Divide them in half and show your children that many children – more than half of them in the world – do not get enough food to eat to help them grow healthy bodies. They are hungry all the time.
The basic message you want to get across is that when we compare ourselves with the rest of the world, we are rich! The Bible indicates that the “rich” of this present world are to share their wealth with those who are less fortunate. In doing so, we please God and will receive a reward from Him in heaven (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
After reviewing age-appropriate sections of the article, read Matthew 6:19-24 and 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and ask the “questions for discussion” included below.
To further the learning, find an old shoebox or another box of a similar size. Colour and decorate the box as a treasure chest with you children. Write the week’s memory verse on it. Tell your children to pretend it is a treasure chest they are filling up in heaven. When you see your children being generous, give them homemade paper money or pretend coins to put in their treasure chests. Try to fill the chest by the end of the time of your study. As an alternative, you can use a decorated treasure-chest shaped poster and paper money to stick on the poster instead of in the box.