What are you worth?
To explore the idea of human worth.
by Oliver Harrison
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To explore the idea of human worth.
Preparation and materials
- Begin by asking the following questions: What are you worth? How much are you worth? Imagine there was a price tag on you. What would it say?
Can you buy a person? Are they for sale in the shopping centre? Which shop would you go to to buy a person?
But sometimes people are bought and sold. Footballers are bought and sold for huge amounts of money. The better the player, the more he's worth.
- And not so very long ago people from European countries such as Holland and Britain, and America, bought and sold people from Africa. What was that called?
Value responses and, according to the understanding of the children and the appropriateness, initiate some discussion of slavery. This is a big subject and you may choose to focus simply on the fact that no human being has the right to own another.
- Ask the children to imagine that there is a criminal, a real baddie, on the loose. And there's a reward for telling the police where he or she is.
Would you tell them? And would you want to collect the money? How much? Well, the worse the person, the bigger the amount!
How bad is this criminal? VERY, VERY, BAD!
So how much money would you get? LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY!
BUT… imagine the police were looking for YOU. Imagine that they thought you'd done something wrong, something very bad? And imagine this: they offer a reward to anyone who can tell the police where you are. Would your friends accept the offer, get you arrested, and collect the reward?
- Say that you know a story about a man who had done nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing.
This man was called Jesus and he had some special friends - men and women who tried to follow his teaching. The police wanted to arrest him, but Jesus had no home so they never knew where he was. But one of his friends went and told the police. He was called Judas, and the police paid him.
Why did Judas sell Jesus? One reason was because he was greedy for money!
Do you know how much money Judas got as a reward for telling the police where Jesus was?
How much was Jesus worth? How much are you worth? Well, all Judas got was... 30 silver coins. Jesus was worth 30 silver coins to Judas.
That's not much for a life, is it?
- Explain that you have a short story all about this.
There was once a very rich King. How rich? Very rich.
And he loved himself very much. How much? Very much.
But the King was a bit upset because the people weren't coming to him any more to have their court cases judged. Instead of going to the King, they were going to a very old and poor shepherd. The people wanted the old and poor shepherd to be their judge because he was wise and always said the right thing. So the King was angry with the people, and especially angry with the old shepherd.
The King sent for the shepherd to come to the palace. And the old shepherd came. The King kept the old shepherd waiting, and when he arrived at last he asked him a question. The King said to the old shepherd, 'How much do you think I'm worth?'
The old shepherd looked at the very rich King and said, '29 pieces of silver.'
'29 pieces of silver!' spluttered the King. 'What makes you say so small a sum, and why 29 exactly?'
'Well,' the old shepherd replied, 'if Jesus is perfect and is worth 30 pieces of silver, then you must be almost perfect and so you are worth nearly, but not quite, as much as him.'
Then the King could see that the shepherd was indeed as wise as his people said, and even the King himself went to the shepherd for advice.
Time for reflection
How much are you worth?
And your friends?
And your family?
Have a think about it today.
'God knows me' (Come and Praise, 15)
Publication date: October 2001 (Vol.3 No.10) Published by SPCK, London, UK.