"Why would God want to send people to Hell?" Jimmy asked his Sunday school teacher.
"Oh, Jimmy," she quickly replied, "God doesn't want to send anyone to Hell. He wants everybody to be with Him in Heaven. But there can be no sin in Heaven. If people want to go to Heaven they must not have any sin in their hearts. And Jesus made a way for all people to have clean hearts so they can be ready for Heaven."
"I remember that lesson from Easter time," said Jimmy. "Jesus died so that if a person is sorry for his sins and asks Jesus to forgive him, then he is ready for Heaven. But, Teacher, what if someone dies and then he is sorry? Will Jesus help him then?"
"There is a story in our Bible about that very thing. Jesus told it to some men who didn't love Him. The story goes like this:
"There was once a very rich man who wore only the finest clothes. He ate the best food and lived in a beautiful mansion. He had many friends who helped him enjoy his riches, but he did not love God.
"There was another man whose name was Lazarus. He was a poor beggar who could be found sitting outside the front gate of the rich man's house. Lazarus was so poor that many times he would have loved just to have the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. It seemed that Lazarus had no friends on earth, but he loved God.
"One day Lazarus died and right away he was in Heaven. How happy he was to be there! He was no longer sick or poor. He could share all the riches and good things that were in Heaven. He forgot all about his sad life on this earth—it did not matter anymore. He was safe with Jesus forever!"
"What about the rich man who did not love God?" asked Jimmy. "What happened to him?"
"The rich man died also. How sad for him to find himself in Hell. It was awful. He was burning in the flames and he was very thirsty. But there was no water in Hell. Oh, how he wished that he had asked God to make him ready for Heaven! Now he was very sorry but it was too late. He should have made the right choice before he died. He had lived a selfish life while he was on earth. If only he had loved God.
"So you see, Jimmy, we have to choose now where we want to go when we die. With Jesus in our hearts we can know that we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven."
Children of primary age often are becoming very interested in money. As they learn the aspects of saving and spending, this lesson is a perfect opportunity to illustrate that accumulation of great wealth is not necessarily a key to happiness.
Our story compares the earthly existence of a rich man with that of the beggar Lazarus. While the rich man had money enough on this earth to purchase anything he wanted, your child should understand that it did not bring him happiness in eternity.
As you talk about this point, let your child make crayon rubbings of a number of coins. Place the coins on a flat surface and lay a piece of white paper over them. Rubbing the crayon over the coin will produce its image on the paper. Let your child cut out the coins. Then ask him how much they are worth. When he replies that they have no value because they are only made of paper, help him see that even "real" money will have no value in eternity.