What Do You Have?
Sharing the things we have
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the importance of working together to help lessen poverty in the world.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to be familiar with the story of the widow’s oil, which is found in the Bible in 2 Kings 4.1-7. You may like to ask a child to retell or read out the story.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Send a Cow Charity Schools Video’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 6.25 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lECEmAQ6nzg
- Have available for display the words, ‘If we lift one life, we can lift others’ (taken from an Oxfam newsletter).
- Optional: you may wish to record the children’s answers in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 5 and 6, in which case you will also need the means to do so.
- Read or retell (or ask a child to read or retell) the story of the widow’s oil, which is found in the Bible in 2 Kings 4.1-7.
- Review the story by asking the following questions.
- Who are the two main characters in the story? (Answer: a widow and Elisha.)
- What are we told about the woman? (Answer: she is a widow who has two sons.)
- What was the widow’s problem? (Answer: she was in debt.)
- What was Elisha’s response to her need? (Answer: he asked how he could help her and asked her to tell him what she had in her house.)
- What was the widow’s reply? (Answer: she said that she had nothing there at all, except a little oil.)
- It was a bleak time for the woman. She must have been worried about what would happen to her family.
- Explain to the children that they are going to hear the story for a second time. Ask half of the assembly group to listen for all the things the woman didn’t have, and ask the other half to listen for all the things she did have.
- Make a list of all the things the woman didn’t have:
- a husband
- Now make a list of all the things she did have:
- two sons
- a house
- a little oil
- empty jars from the neighbours
- the prophet Elisha
- Ask the following questions.
- When did the oil stop flowing?
- How did the woman pay her debts?
- Was there anything left over?
- We can learn many lessons from this story.
First, the widow had more than she realized. God used what she had to help her with her problems. Her neighbours and her community were willing to help by giving their jars to her. This miracle may also have sent a message to the community because, according to the law, they were supposed to take care of widows and they obviously hadn’t been doing that.
- There are many people in the world who are just like this woman. Millions of people are in debt, millions are hungry and millions are sick because they don’t have clean water or medicine.
- Many relief agencies are asking the same question as Elisha did: ‘What do you have?’
These agencies are helping the needy to see that often they do have something. Maybe someone has a few seeds, maybe someone has a tool, maybe someone is strong, maybe someone is good at organizing, maybe someone can look after the babies or maybe someone is good at craft. Many relief agencies are trying to help communities to work together to support one another - and it is working!
- Show the YouTube video ‘Send a Cow Charity Schools Video’.
In this video, a charity is helping a community of people to become self-sufficient. The charity is giving the community a cow, but then the people will need to work together to provide food and milk for their families.
Time for reflection
Display the the words, ‘If we lift one life, we can lift others’.
Ask the children what they think the words mean.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask the children, ‘How could you help to ‘lift one life’ today?’
Thank you for all that we have: our homes, food, clothes, beds, school and friends.
Please help us to be grateful for all that we have.
Thank you that there are many ways in which we can help others.
Please give us ideas so that we too can join in helping and ‘lift a life’ today.