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When an Opportunity Knocks!

Making the most of every opportunity

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To consider the importance of taking the opportunities that we are given.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need some good knock-knock jokes! There are some listed, but you may wish to use others.


  1. Introduce the assembly by telling some knock-knock jokes.

    Knock, knock.
    Who’s there?
    Harry who?
    Harry up and answer the door!

    Knock, knock.
    Who’s there?
    Tank who?
    You’re welcome!

    Knock, knock.
    Who’s there?
    Boo who?
    Why are you crying?!

  2. Ask the students, ‘What does the word “opportunity” mean?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that an opportunity is a chance to do something.

  3. Ask the students, ‘What does the phrase “opportunity knocks” mean?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that when an opportunity comes knocking at our door, it means that we have been given the chance to do something. However, it’s up to us to decide whether we want to take that opportunity.

    We may not have been expecting it, or we may have been waiting for it for some time. If we decide not to take the opportunity, we may not get the chance to do it again.

  4. Introduce the story of Jonah from the Old Testament.

    Jonah was a prophet. His job was to tell people what God told him. One day, God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh because the people there were behaving badly. However, Jonah didn’t take this opportunity. Instead, he ran away and boarded a boat that was heading to a place called Tarshish.

    Tarshish was in the opposite direction to Nineveh. While Jonah was on the boat, there was a great storm and Jonah realized that he was running away from what God had asked him to do. He made the sailors throw him into the water and immediately, the sea became calm. God sent a large fish that swallowed Jonah. After three days, the fish spat Jonah out and Jonah realized his mistake and went to Nineveh as God had asked him to. The people of Nineveh listened to Jonah and turned back to God, saying sorry for all the wrong things that they had done. The city of Nineveh was changed!

  5. Ask the students what things were out of Jonah’s control in this story.

    Explain that God may control things in nature, such as the storm, the wind, the rain and the giant fish in the story. However, God doesn’t control people because he wants them to have free will and make their own decisions. God wants them to decide what they will and won’t do. In the story, God didn’t control Jonah, the sailors or the people of Nineveh.

Time for reflection

Ask the students to think about the things that they would like to achieve this year.

Explain that Christians believe that God gives them the opportunity to do things in life. If it’s the right time to do something, God will open the door to that opportunity and give them that chance. It could be something like starting a new job, making a new friend, trying a new activity, helping others by raising funds for charity or learning something new. We can all have these opportunities, but it is up to us whether we take them.

Ask the students to think about things that they didn’t take the opportunity to do last year.

Explain that we are often given second chances and that it is important to learn to grasp opportunities when they arise.

Dear God,
Thank you for the story of Jonah and the lessons that we can learn from it.
Thank you for the opportunities that come knocking at our door.
Thank you that you give second chances when we don’t take an opportunity the first time round.
We pray that we will all have amazing opportunities this year and that we will have the courage to try new and exciting things.

Publication date: April 2022   (Vol.24 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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