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Don't Hide Your Light

To appreciate how sayings from the Bible are in everyday use and explore the relevance of this saying today

by Peter Mattacola

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To appreciate how sayings from the Bible are in everyday use and explore the relevance of this saying today.

Preparation and materials

  • You may like to read the passage from Matthew 5.14-16. A modern translation uses 'bowl' for 'bushel'.


  1. Explain that Jesus used the phrase 'Don't hide your light' to encourage people to act on their beliefs and not be afraid of how others would react. We use this term in everyday language to apply to people who are so shy about their gifts and skills that no one knows they can do a particular thing well.

  2. As an introduction to the story, ask if any children are having piano lessons, or learning another musical instrument. Introduce this school story about a child who didn't 'hide her light'.

    Katie was a quiet, hard-working girl in Year 6. She enjoyed most of her lessons, especially ICT and PE. Her special friend was Helen, who stayed for sleepovers about once a month. Helen enjoyed visiting Katie's house. They liked using the Internet to find out about their favourite bands and to help with homework. Helen was always fascinated by the lovely piano at the house. Katie said her dad was a very good pianist but Helen never heard him play.

    Katie was in the school choir. She had a good strong voice and was always the first to remember a new tune, although she did sometimes get the words wrong, which made her friends laugh. They were practising for a special carol concert, which was to take place in a church.

    On the day of the concert they all went to the church to perform for the parents. The stage, instruments and music were all arranged in the church before they arrived. The music teacher was Ms Collins. She had worked hard for this concert, and was excited and a little nervous as she walked with her choir down to the church. But as they passed a garden gate a cat suddenly shot out, because it was being frightened by a dog. Ms Collins tripped over the cat and fell headlong. She hurt her face and hands and was quite shocked. Mrs Barnes, the classroom assistant, called an ambulance, and Ms Collins went to hospital, where she had to have butterfly stitches.

    Mrs Barnes took the children on to the church and told Mrs Jacobs, the head teacher, what had happened.

    Mrs Jacobs told the children there was now no one to play the piano, and so they would have to sing without accompaniment. Katie was listening. Mrs Jacobs said how disappointed the parents would be. So Katie went up to Mrs Jacobs and said, 'I could play the piano for you all!'

    Mrs Jacobs was a little taken aback, and asked Katie if she really knew what she was suggesting.

    'Well, my mum and dad are here and I don't want them to be disappointed. Ask my dad if you like and he'll tell you that I can play.' Katie's dad backed her up, and they did a practice song to see how she got on.

    Katie had actually passed her Grade 5 exam recently. And she knew the songs from singing them, so she found the music quite straightforward. The practice song was a great success and Mrs Jacobs gave Katie the go-ahead to be the concert accompanist.

    The carol concert went very well. Not many people realized that Katie was playing. At the end Mrs Jacobs asked the pianist to come out and take a bow, and the audience gasped to see that it was Katie. She was then given a round of applause and a cheer by the rest of the choir. Mrs Jacobs thanked her specially for playing the piano at the last moment, saying, 'We are so glad that Katie didn't hide her light.'

    On their way home, Helen said to Katie, 'Why haven't you played the piano for me when I visited your house?'

    'I didn't want to bore you with it,' replied Katie.

    But behind them two girls muttered in voices loud enough for Katie to hear, 'Show off, show off!'

    Katie ignored them, but Helen stuck up for her friend: 'Katie is not show off! Even I didn't know how well she could play. You're just envious because she did something well. You should be glad she helped us all out.'

    The girls behind muttered again, but just then the same cat rushed out of the garden again. The girls suddenly stopped muttering and screamed. Everyone laughed!

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Thank you for people with special gifts.
We pray that we will not envy them but appreciate them.
We pray that if we have gifts we will be humble and not show off,
but if our gift is needed we pray that we, like Katie,
will not hide our light.


'The best gift' (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: May 2003   (Vol.5 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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