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Greed, not Need

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To reflect upon the need to avoid hypocrisy in our personal lifestyles.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need three readers, who will need to time to rehearse prior to the assembly.

  • You will also need a bar of organic, Fairtrade chocolate. If this is not available, the reader can mime the action of eating the chocolate.


Reader 1 walks to the front, eating a bar of organic, Fairtrade chocolate from its wrapping.

Reader 1: I do enjoy a bit of chocolate. Helps the day along. (Offering a piece to a nearby student) Want a piece?

Reader 2 (from the audience): Stop! That’s no good for you!

Reader 1: It’s organic.

Reader 2: You don’t need it!

Reader 1: Its good for the heart.

Reader 2: You dont need it!

Reader 1: Its Fairtrade chocolate [explain if necessary]. Im helping people in poorer countries.

Reader 2: Youre helping yourself!

Reader 1 (absently): Im helping myself . . . No, Im not! Im giving money to the poor by buying and eating this chocolate!

Reader 2: Why not give them the money and miss out on the chocolate?

Reader 1 (despondently): Now youve made me feel really bad.

Reader 1 drops the wrapped chocolate bar and sits down, looking away from Reader 2.

Reader 2 picks it up, eats some and gives some to some students nearby, unseen by Reader 1.

Reader 1: Well, I suppose wed better get on with the assembly.

Reader 2: Yes, but I hope youre ashamed of yourself. Eating all that chocolate was just about greed, not need. Its a good job were not all like you! Kidding yourself about caring for others . . .

Reader 3: This is a passage from the Bible found in Matthew 7.1-5.

‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’

Time for reflection

Reader 1: I wonder if you noticed what the Bible passage had to do with the first part of the assembly.

Reader 2: I suppose it was suggesting that I was judging you for what you were doing – eating chocolate instead of giving your money directly to the poor.

Reader 3 (to Reader 2): It also makes the point that you were being a hypocrite! Telling someone off for eating chocolate and then eating it yourself when you thought they weren’t looking!

Reader 1 looks shocked and Reader 2 looks guilty.

Reader 3: I suppose we really need to think about this question: ‘If we really want to help people in poorer countries, what is the most effective way to do it?

Short pause.

Reader 1: And it also makes us think about this question: How often do we criticize other people for things that we could actually be criticized for ourselves?

Short pause.

Reader 2: I suppose that when Jesus talked about hypocrites, he meant people who pretend to be what they are not. I think that maybe that is all of us, for some of the time!

Short pause.

Reader 1: I think that the most important thing to consider is at what point our harmless enjoyment turns into greed. And that is a question that each of us have to consider for ourselves!

Dear God,
We are so fortunate.
We have plenty to eat and drink and we have clothes to wear.
Please help us never to become greedy.
Please help us to share with other people.
Help us to make good decisions.

Publication date: March 2020   (Vol.22 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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