In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the "Parable of the Talents." The parable is about a wealthy man who gives each of his servants a different amount of talents. The servant with the least amount of talents focuses on having less instead of using what he does have. Although the word, “talents” in the story refers literally to money, you can extend the meaning to other areas. Remind the children that some of us are born into abundance, while others are born into scarcity. Explain that what matters isn’t what we’re given, but what we do with it. Read the parable to teach children to appreciate their own God-given talents -- and incorporate fun activities as learning tools.
Engage children in games to reinforce the lesson. Plan a scavenger hunt. Hide toy occupational items, such as a plastic firefighter helmet or a doctor's stethoscope, through out a room. Each child must find one item and report back to you. Once everyone finds an item, have each child explain to what profession the item belongs. For a different variation, label chocolate coins with talents such as "singing" or "dancing" and let each child find one. Take this opportunity to emphasize that everyone possesses a special tool or talent that he can put to great use like the wise servant did in the parable.
Writing will allow children to reflect on their own talents or share their thoughts about the parable. Prepare journal questions such as, "Why did the master give his servants different amounts of talents?" or "How did each servant use his talent?" to see if the children were attentively listening to the parable. Let each child share her answers with the others. For another activity, have each child write down a few sentences about a special talent or skill he possesses, such as playing basketball well, and how he can use it to help others. Divide the children into pairs and have them discuss their talents.
Craft items can serve as a constant reminder to look at one's own talents instead of looking at somebody else's talents. Let each child create a poster. At the top of the poster, tell them to write, "I have so many God-given talents." Have the children use art supplies to draw themselves acting out their various talents. Each child can hang the poster in her bedroom to always remind her of all the special things she can do. Gift giving will also teach child to use their God-given talents to help others. Have them each make something they're good at making such as homemade cookies. Ask them to wrap the cookies or other items in a box or tin, and then gift wrap it to give to someone else.
Acting out the parable will give children a visual to better grasp the lesson learned about using what you have. Select four children to pick dress-up items from a box to play the wealthy man and his three servants for a skit. Write the lines on index cards for them to read or have them briefly memorize the lines. The rest of the children can be the audience. Read the parable slowly while the children act it out for the others. A children's talent show will also be a fitting activity to coincide with the lesson.
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