Life Is Like a Harvest
Harvest time can remind us to use our talents
by Ronni Lamont (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To examine how we use our talents.
Preparation and materials
You may wish to ask students to act out the story in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1. It works well in a series of still pictures or tableaux. The story is found in the Bible in Matthew 25.14–30.
- Have you ever thought that what you achieve in life is a bit like a harvest? Here’s a story that helps us to think about that. It is a more modern version of a Bible story.
Once, there was a strict landowner. He was going to go away for a while on business, so he entrusted much of his wealth to three servants. The coins of the time were called ‘talents’. To one servant, he gave five talents. To another, he gave two talents. To the last, he gave just one.
The first servant took his five talents and invested them on the stock exchange. The second took his two talents and invested them at a bank. The third took his one and only talent, dug a hole in a field and buried it. He carefully marked the spot so that he could dig it up when he needed it.
A year later, the owner returned and summoned the three servants to his counting house.
The first one stepped forward and said, ‘You gave me five talents and I invested them on the stock exchange. Here – they’ve doubled in value.’ The landowner was delighted. He slapped the servant on the back and invited him to a rather smart party he was holding later that day.
The second one stepped forward. ‘You gave me two talents, and I invested them at the bank. Here – they’ve doubled in value.’ The landowner was delighted. He slapped the servant on the back and invited him to the party, too.
The third one stepped forward. ‘You gave me just one talent. But I knew that you can be hard and cruel, and I was scared that I might lose it altogether. So I buried it in a field: here you are.’ And he gave the landowner the somewhat dirty coin.
The owner was indeed furious. ‘You useless servant!’ he shouted. ‘You knew I could be cruel, did you? Well, I will be now – get out and never return to my house.’ The servant left, and was never seen again.
- This story is based on the idea that a talent is like money. You are all talented, in different ways. Some of you seem to have loads of talent (you may wish to name some of the sports ‘stars’ in different age groups). Some of you keep your talents to yourself (name some lesser-known talents, perhaps not mentioning names). And some of you think you’ve hardly got any talents at all. But we all have.
- But what happens if you don’t use the talent you’ve got?
- What would happen if a famous footballer didn’t train?
- What would happen if you didn’t practise your French vocab?
- What would happen if you never wrote a story, painted a picture or befriended a lonely person?
You would forget how to do it. Your talent certainly wouldn't develop, and you might even lose it.
- As we start a new school year, we look forward to great opportunities to learn and try new things. At the end of the year, I wonder how you will have developed the talents and abilities that you have been born with.
Never forget – talents are more than academic achievements. What about the ability to help out? To cheer people up? To be there for your friends? Social talents are just as important as academic, artistic or sporting talents.
We have all got talents. Let’s use them and make this year a fantastic time of learning and growth!
Time for reflection
At the end of your time in school, how will you have developed the talents and abilities that you’ve been born with? What will your harvest of achievement look like?
- Will you be like the first two servants, who worked on their talents, developing and growing them?
- Or are you going to bury your talent so that it goes to waste?
Pause for thought.
May I use my talents to the maximum,
Working hard, playing hard,
And growing and stretching my intellect,
That I may do as well as I can
And others may benefit from having me around.
‘Will you come and follow me?’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 768, 2008 edition)