We were making “fish bags” last Wednesday in our kid’s class. Jonah was so excited to be making a craft with toothpaste, he squirted two tubes on TOP of the baggie instead of inside. His sister, Suzanna, had been more successful, but she was licking the excess. “Mmmm, that’s good!” she informed us. “Don’t eat it!” I exclaimed. “Keep it in the bag!” Gavin learned from the others and got his toothpaste right in the baggie.
I reminded them periodically, “You can’t do this with your toothpaste at home…” I began. “’Cause we’ll get in BIG TROUBLE!” they all cheered together and laughed. Sometimes you just have to do crazy fun things at church!
Our lesson was “The Coin in the Fish’s Mouth” found in Matthew 17. I don’t know if you’ve read it lately, but it’s full of good stuff. The kids loved it!
Gathered around on the floor, I had the pleasure of sharing the story using pictures from freebibleimages.org. They remembered “taxes” from when Mary and Joseph had to go to pay taxes in Bethlehem.
Peter was challenged by the tax collectors in Capernaum. He answered quickly but knew he had no money to pay the two-drachma tax. When he saw Jesus a bit later, He knew all that was going on. To get the money to pay the taxes for both of them, Jesus instructed Peter to go to the lake and throw out his line.
The kids thought that was strange. We talked about what they do if they need money: go to a bank, their moms and dads or a grandparent. They’d never been fishing for money in water.
When we put ourselves in Peter’s sandals that day, it was significant that Jesus told him to go get money from a fish. Peter had been a fisherman his whole life. He had made money CATCHING fish, but not once was it ever recorded that he had found money IN a fish. Another thing to note about the story: Jesus told Peter to throw out his line. He didn’t mention bait.
The children and I laughed at how crazy Peter must have thought it was, but he still obeyed Jesus. The picture showed Peter dropping one line in the water and sure enough, he caught a fish. And inside that fish … was a coin exactly enough to pay the taxes.
I told them when we love and obey Jesus, He will always meet our needs. It might be in crazy ways, but He will! “You can ask your parents. They may be able to tell you stories,” I said. I got a little choked up, and they looked at me funny. I can tell story after story of how God has met the needs of my family!
To finish the whole thing, our 4s and 5s made “fish bags.” They put fish stickers all over the baggies, and then we filled them with small tubes of blue toothpaste. It looked like an underwater scene!
Simon Peter began a roller coaster ride when He had followed Jesus! Every day with Jesus was better than the day before. The same is true for us!
Using a fish and a coin, Jesus showed Peter what Psalm 23:1 really meant: “The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need,” NASB.