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Seed, stone, log

To reflect on the need to hold back from judging others.

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect on the need to hold back from judging others.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a pot of earth and an apple seed.
  • A stone that everyone can see.
  • A log/stick that will effectively block sight.
  • Be familiar with the Bible story from John 8.1-11.


  1. To build interest, show the children the seed (pip), stone and log. Ask for guesses as to what the assembly is about. Don’t comment on the suggestions.
  2. Tell this story:

    A man once stole a piece of food and was ordered by the king to be hanged. When asked if he had any last words, the thief replied: ‘Know, O king, that I can plant an apple seed in the ground and it will grow into a tree and bear fruit overnight. It is a secret that my father taught me and I thought it would be a pity if it died with me.’ (Pick up the apple seed as you say this.)

    A time was appointed the following day for the planting of the seed. The thief dug a hole and said, ‘This seed can only be planted by someone who has never stolen or taken anything that did not belong to him. Being a thief, I cannot, of course, do it.’ The king asked his prime minister to plant the seed.

    But the prime minister hesitated and said, ‘Your majesty, when I was young, I recall keeping something that did not belong to me. I cannot plant the seed.’

    The treasurer, when told to plant the seed, begged the king’s pardon, saying that he may have cheated someone out of some money. The king, in his turn, recalled that once he took and kept a precious object belonging to his mother.

    The thief turned to them and said, ‘You are all mighty and powerful persons. You are not in want of anything, yet you cannot plant the seed. Yet I, who stole a little food to stay alive, am to be hanged.’ The king, pleased with the man’s wisdom, pardoned him.

    Ask if the king was right to pardon the man. Why did he do it?
  3. Retell the story from John 8: 1–11 about the woman caught in adultery. You need only say that she had committed a crime under the law that carried the terrible punishment of being stoned to death under the harsh laws of the time. (Pick up the stone.) But Jesus said, ‘Whoever is without sin may cast the first stone.’ Gradually everyone went away. (Put the stone down.) Ask the children why they think this was. Elicit the answer that those condemning her knew that they were guilty of other things.

    Point out that Christians and others believe that as far as God is concerned, we should be more interested in whether we are living right, than how other people are living their lives.
  4. To make the final point, ask for a volunteer to stand alongside you. Take the log and place it over your own eye. Attempt to remove a speck of dust from their shoulder – try to emphasize the comic effect!

    Jesus said, ‘You can’t remove a speck of dust from someone else, if you have a huge log in your own eye.’ We should resist judging others, and leave that to God.

Time for reflection


Do you judge other people?

Do you think they’re worse than you?

Are you above other people?

Or do you do the things they do?



Dear God

Thank you that you accept me as I am.

Help me not to judge others,

But to accept them as they are.



‘Shalom’ (Come and Praise, 141)

Publication date: April 2007   (Vol.9 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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