“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
The parable of the talents is much more than a financial tale. The importance of using our blessings wisely and sharing with others is the highlight of this story. This story not only refers to monetary possessions or physical belongings, but also to the time and talents that God gives all of us.
Do we tend to hide our gifts and talents and qualities from others? It can seem like “The Great Cover-Up”. When we “bury” our gifts and talents, it is as if we are throwing away God’s blessings to us. However, the unfaithful servant in this parable didn’t so much waste the master’s money – he wasted an opportunity.
Every one of us are given opportunities to find God’s will and to do God’s work. We have been given abilities to match our opportunities, so that we might exercise our responsibility to use those abilities and take advantage of those opportunities to glorify God. But here is the catch, we must not hide our abilities and we must recognize our talents and our opportunities to use them.
In the same way, Zacchaeus hid in a tree, just to make sure others would not see him and that he would see Jesus. Since he was so short, the only alternative he had to get a glimpse, was to climb a tree so he could see over the crowd. In addition, he knew others would glare at him and rebuke him for even being in their presence. You see, Zaccahaeus was a tax collector who collected money to pay the king. In addition, he took more than he was supposed to and stole money from the people to keep for himself. Little did he realize at first, that he had opportunities to dig into his pockets and give back to others.
Luke 19:1-26 New Living Translation
Children’s Storybook Bibles for the story of Zacchaeus: The Jesus Storybook Bible, Read and Learn Bible, Celebrate Wonder Bible Storybook or other Children’s Bible
Toolbox Story (end of this post by sermons4kids) can be used for younger children for the Bible Scripture about the Talents. Your family may want to read these stories at bedtime or another time such as riding in the car or at breakfast, etc.
Cultivate Faith Talk-The wondering questions enable all ages to see opportunities for new understandings and appreciation of the scriptures with it’s amazing messages instead of reading for information only.
- I wonder if you want to hide when you’ve done something wrong? I wonder how you feel? I wonder how Zacchaeus felt sitting up in the tree?
- I wonder what you are good at doing? I wonder, how you could share your abilities with someone at home or school?
- I wonder if you could share your abilities to help at home? At church?
(Late Elementary and Older)
- I wonder how Zacchaeus felt when Jesus said he was coming to his house? Do you believe he felt embarrassed being with Jesus because he had stolen money from others?
- I wonder if Zaccahaeus would continue giving to others instead of stealing? Why would he continue to give? Why would he continue to steal?
- I wonder how God is working in our lives today to help us discover and use our gifts?
- I wonder if Zaccahaeus would take other opportunities to use his talents for others?
- I wonder what hidden abilites you have that you can “dig up” and help others?
- I wonder how God will present opportunities for you to use your gifts in the future?
- I wonder what this means in Luke 19:26 “…and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.”?
- I wonder how we can grow the Kingdom with our gifts and talents?
- I wonder what would happen in our churches if everyone would use their “talents”
- I wonder why young people and older people tend to hide their talents and gifts and not use them as opportunities to grow others in the faith?
Conversation Starters During the Week could begin with these ideas after dinner, when sitting on the porch, when walking the dog, or while reading a book or other quiet moments:
Ideas After Dinner or While on the Porch/While Chillin’
- What was the best and worst part of your day today? Was there anything that happened that made you laugh?
- Who encouraged you today? I wonder how Jesus encouraged Zaccheus when he was visiting him? If you were Zaccheus, what else would you say to Jesus.
- I wonder how we see ourselves in the story of the talents? I wonder if you would bury the money or invest it? Why?
- Zaccheus’s life was changed when Jesus forgave him. I wonder what he did differently?
Ideas When Walking/Walking the Dog/Playing a Card Game or Board Game, etc.
- At the park, while climbing the ladder to the slide, pretend that you are Zaccheus, hiding in a tree to see Jesus? Notice how many objects or people you can see from up there.
- At home, gather items in a box of cleaning sprays, cloths and sponges. Ask the children and youth if they could use these to help around the house. Praise them for using their “talents” of dusting, etc. to help the family.
- Family Service Project: Have your family offer to spend time before church, after church or another day, cleaning baby toys in the Nursery. This is a great way for families to serve in the church together. Check out the church policy for cleaning items.
- While watching a movie on T.V., think about the gifts and talents of the characters? Talk about if they are using them to help others and to glorify God.
- Don’t miss this opportunity for family talks!!! Watch the clip “Opportunities” from the movie Evan Almighty located at the end of the post then ask, “I wonder if you pray for faithfulness, does God give you faith or does he give you opportunities to be faithful?”
- Also watch the clip, “One Act of Random Kindness at a Time”. I wonder how we can begin to “change the world”? I wonder if we can begin by looking for opportunities to use our talents? I wonder what action we can take today to transform the world?
- Play the song, “With My Whole Heart” (video link found at the end of this post) this week at bedtime. It is a great song for the family to sing together about loving God with our lives. My children’s choirs sang this song often for church services.
16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
Blessings & Prayers (All Ages). Place your hand on your child’s shoulder or head or hold hands when giving the blessing. They may also repeat this short blessing for you as they place their hand on your shoulder or head.“You, Lord are my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Amen
Prayer: Dear God, may You, the God of hope fill all of us with all joy and peace as we trust in you so that we will overflow with hope by the power of your Holy Spirit.” Amen. (Adapted from Romans 15:13)
Morning Blessings: “Your talent is God’s gift to you. I pray you use your talent for God, as a gift back to Him.”
“May the grace and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Be with you.
(Phillippians 1:2, Reading for July 2, 2022)
“My prayer: that your love
might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight.
Prayers so that you will be able to decide what really matters…”
(Phillippians 1:9-10a, Reading for July 2, 2022)
Blessing For The Luke 19 Readings:
You are Blessed to be a Blessing to others.
(Adapted from Genesis 12:1-3)
“I pray the eyes of your heart will have light to see what is the hope of God’s call in your life”
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
“Three Toolboxes” Story Excerpt:
For the full story and related resources, go to http://www.sermons4kids.com/three_toolboxes.htm
Once upon a time there was a man who had a construction business. The man had to go away on a long trip and so he called his three employees together and said, “I have to go on a long trip and so I am leaving you three in charge. I have put together a tool box for each of you to use to keep the business going while I am gone.”
The man then gave each of his employees a tool box. The tool boxes contained all the tools the employees needed to do what the man expected of them, but since the three employees didn’t all have the same abilities, each toolbox was different. To the first employee, he gave a very large tool box filled with every tool that you can imagine. To the second employee, he gave a smaller toolbox, but one that still had a very good assortment of tools. To the third employee, he gave a very small tool box with just a few tools, but enough tools for the employee to do what was expected of him.
The man then left to go on his trip. When he returned, he called his employees together to see what they had done while he was gone.
The first employee said, “I knew that you had a great love for the homeless people of the world, so I used the toolbox that you gave me to build homes for the homeless.
“That is great!” said the employer. “You have done so well that I am going to put you in charge of all new construction for the entire company.”
The second employee said, “I knew that you had a great love for the elderly, so I used the toolbox you gave me to fix up the homes of old people who can no longer do the work themselves.”
“That is wonderful!” said the employer. “You have done such a good job, that I am putting you in charge of all the repair and maintenance work for the entire company.”
Then he turned to the third employee and asked, “What did you do with the tools that I left for you?”
“I knew that you are a very demanding boss and that you expect a lot from your employees. I was afraid that if I used the tools you gave me that one of them might get broken or that I might lose one of them and make you angry. I put the tools in a very safe place. They were there all the time you were gone. Look, here they are, just like new.”
Music For This Message:
With My Whole Heart-Beautiful Children’s Song
One Act of Random Kindness at a Time, Clip from Evan Almighty