Have you ever wondered how to teach your kids to love God with all of their heart? After all, this is the first and greatest commandment that God has given us to teach them!
Several years ago I had to teach this lesson to a group of preschoolers at my church, and I pondered how to REALLY get this concept through to their little minds. I asked the Lord for guidance, and as He usually does, He gave me an idea of a visual to share with them.
I took a large white board and drew a big heart. I told the children that this is like our heart.
“The Bible says that we should love God most– with ALL of our heart. Its okay to love other things, and God gave us lots of fun things to love in this world, but He wants us to love Him first and Him the most! Now let’s see what happens if we don’t love God first. Start naming some different things that you love.”
The kids were excited to share and hands shot up everywhere.
“Princesses!” “My blanket!” “Spiderman!” “Superheroes!” “My Mommy!” “Pizza!” “Candy!” “Disney World!” “Bear!” “Race cars!” “Frozen!” “Baseball!” “Ballet!” “Cookies!” “Trampolines!”
The list went on and on AND on… and it was quite easy to fill up the whole heart with these words!
Once it was full I looked at them and said, “Now how are we going to love God the most with such a little space? Is there enough room left to love Him with all our heart?”
I kid you not, those precious children looked SO SAD!!! It moved me to see their sincere concern that they could not love God with all their hearts when they did not put Him first!
So then you can probably guess what we did. I said, “Now this time, we are going to erase all of these things, and we are going to love God first AND the most.
I erased all of the words and wrote as big as I could G O D across the heart. “See how big God is in our heart?” The children looked relieved and excited to see God written out so big across the heart.
“Now,” I said, “We can put in the other things that we love, just smaller, but we can still love them too.” We recounted all of the things that went into the heart and wrote them around the word GOD in the heart. And they all fit with God clearly standing out to be the biggest and most important thing.
Of all the lessons I have taught, this is the lesson that I have seen impact my daughter’s heart in the most tangible way. I would catch her later saying things like, “Mommy, I love princesses a lot, but I love God the most.” She even taught her little brother, when he was talking about his love for his certain toys one day, that he needed to love God the most!
I will still catch them talking about their favorite things, but they always make sure and say that their most favorite thing is God, and it brings a smile to my heart.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.” Deuteronomy 6:5-6