A Good Investment
How much are we worth?
by Brian Radcliffe (revised, originally published in 2014)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore the importance of taking the opportunities that we are given.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a leader and two readers.
- You will also need a few £20 notes or a credit or debit card.
- You will need to be familiar with the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19.11–27. It has been adapted slightly in the retelling below.
Leader (showing the money to the students): Tell the students that you have some spare cash and that you’re considering whether to give it to some of them. They could have it for the next two months to see what they could do with it before the school year ends. Point out that you would want the money back then, but that maybe you could make a deal about any profit that was made.
Ask the students, ‘Can anyone come up with a convincing scheme to make the money grow?’
Pause to allow time for the students to discuss in groups.
Point out that this concept is a bit like Dragons’ Den. Ask what proposals the students have for you.
Invite the students to the front to present their ideas. Comment on each as appropriate, drawing out the imagination and hard work involved.
Tell the students that, while you consider their proposals, they are going to listen to a story that Jesus told.
Reader 1: A very rich man was about to go on a journey. He was concerned about his wealth, so he decided to place it in the care of some of his servants.
Reader 2: He divided up his wealth, giving a larger proportion to the senior servants, but making sure that everyone had some to take care of.
Reader 1: Then, off he went on his journey.
Reader 2: For month . . .
Reader 1: After month . . .
Reader 2: After month.
Readers 1 and 2 pause, standing with their arms folded, tapping their feet and looking increasingly bored.
Reader 1: Suddenly, the man returned and lined up his servants in front of him. ‘So, what did you do with the money I trusted you with?’ he asked each of them.
Reader 2: Proudly, the first servant declared that he’d managed to double the value of his amount by investing it wisely in a local company.
Reader 1: Some of the other servants also reported the profits they had made over the year, offering figures like 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 50 per cent. The rich man praised each servant highly and allowed all of them a cut of their profit.
Reader 2: However, there were a few who came to the rich man rather shame-faced. Mumbling their apologies, they returned the original amount.
Reader 1: The rich man looked at them with great disappointment. Here was a chance in life that they’d been given and they’d missed the opportunity. He was tempted to punish them for their idleness, but felt that maybe their embarrassment, guilt and lack of further opportunity was going to be punishment enough.
Time for reflection
Leader: I wonder if we realize that each one of us is the result of investment. Our parents or carers have invested time, money and effort into making each of us the people we are today. Teachers have invested their time and imagination in helping us to develop too. The government believes that children and young people are worth investing in, to the tune of thousands of pounds for each year of our lives.
I wonder what investments we have made so far this year. Already we’ve had so many opportunities. The structure has been in place throughout the school year: staff, resources, timetable, support and so on. Many of us have made good investments. We have put time and energy into school life, our work and our activities; we have taken opportunities and tried new things. As we move through the summer term, let’s continue to invest and let’s make plans for the investments that we intend to make in the second half of 2022.
Reader 1 (enthusiastically): Some of us are going to be feeling very pleased with ourselves. We have achieved new things, made new friendships and gained new experiences, skills and understanding.
Reader 2 (moderately pleased): Lots of us will be able to say that, on the whole, we have better understanding, more knowledge and have tried hard.
Leader: A few of us will look at ourselves and see little difference. We might feel a bit embarrassed, guilty or disappointed. Let’s acknowledge that and decide to make the most of every opportunity from now on. It’s never too late to change and start again. The second half of the year could be very different.
Pause to allow time for thought.
Show the money again.
Ask the students, ‘What investment are you going to make in yourself?’
Pause to allow time for thought.
Thank you for the investment that is made in each one of us.
May we place real value on ourselves.
May we place value on the trust that others show us.
Please help us to take opportunities and to make the most of all the gifts that you have given us.
May we look back on the next few months and feel pleased.