Today, we’re looking at the story of the temple tax and how one animal can help us bring it to life for kids.

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Welcome to the “Meet an Amazing Animal” series.

God has done some remarkable things through his furry, fuzzy, and funny creations. A talking donkey? A fish carrying around a tax payment in its mouth? A rooster reminder that brought a grown man to his knees?

In this series we’re exploring how God has used animals to make himself and his purposes known. Get all twelve free lessons.

You’ll help your kids experience powerful transformation as they link Bible truths they need with the animals they love.

Let’s get started!

Bible Story: The Temple Tax (Matthew 17:24–27)

Animal: A Fish

Lesson Theme: God Wants Us to Do the Right Thing

Activity: Note the Nickels

[icon name=”clock”] Time: about 10 minutes

[icon name=”list-alt”] Supplies: 20 nickels, duct tape, bowl, stopwatch

Before children arrive, hide 19 nickels in the room. Then duct-tape one nickel to the bottom of your shoe. Be careful that kids don’t see the bottom of your shoe!

Place a bowl on the floor in the middle of your room.

SAY: If you were hiding coins in this room, where would you conceal them?

Ask kids to call out their suggestions, and then explain: 20 nickels are hidden, and you have two minutes to find them and drop them into the
bowl, starting … now!

When two minutes have passed, gather kids together and count the nickels in the bowl. Reveal other hiding spots—except the nickel on the bottom of your shoe.

As a group talk about this:

  • Tell about a time you found or lost money. What happened, and how did it feel?
  • If you found a million dollars and could keep it, what would you do with it?
  • If someone told you to go to the grocery store and crack open an egg so you could find a silver coin, would you do it? Why or why not?

Remove the nickel on the bottom of your shoe and toss it into the bowl.

SAY: Let’s hear about a time someone found a coin in a really, really strange place. He found it because he was helping Jesus do the right thing!

Teaching Time

Share the story of Jesus and his disciples paying the temple tax (Matthew 17:24–27). Use the following questions to guide discussion.

  • Why do you think Jesus asked if kings taxed their own people or people they’d conquered?
  • Jesus wanted to do the right thing even if he wasn’t required to pay the tax. When did you do something just because it was the right thing to do?
  • Why is it sometimes hard to do the right thing?
  • If you could change one “right thing” people expect you to do, what would it be?