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Parable of the Talents – Lesson Plan, Discussion, and Reflection Questions

About This Lesson Plan on The Parable of the Talents

This lesson plan centers on the Parable of the Talents, as found in Matthew 25:14-30. The primary objective is to engage youth in a reflective process about the talents and gifts they have received from God. Catechists will start the lesson with an activity where each participant writes down their talents on a piece of paper. The exercise serves as an icebreaker and also lays the groundwork for the discussion that follows.

Following the initial activity, catechists will guide the youth through a reading of the Parable of the Talents. It’s advisable to keep the discussion interactive, probing the youths’ thoughts on how the parable relates to their own lives. Questions to consider include what God expects of them and how they can use their talents to benefit others and grow the Kingdom of God.

The discussion part of the Parable of the Talents lesson plan is crucial. It’s not just about understanding the biblical text but also about translating its teachings into everyday life. Catechists should prepare some reflective questions aimed at helping the participants explore how their gifts can be used in service to God and community.

In conclusion, the Parable of the Talents lesson is designed to offer both reflection and action steps. The youth should leave with a renewed understanding of their talents as gifts from God, along with a challenge to think about how to use one specific talent in the coming week. Ending with a collective prayer can help solidify these intentions and offer a moment of spiritual grounding.

Opening Activity for Reflection on the Parable of the Talents

(As an alternate opening or if you have more time, you can play Talent Comm)

Start by giving everyone a piece of paper. Have the youth spread out and spend some time – maybe 5 minutes – writing down all of their talents. This can be done as a gathering activity while everyone arrives. Encourage them to really dig deep and come up with as many talents as they can.

We all have a lot of talents. Would anyone like to share some of the talents they wrote down.

Give the teens a few minutes to share what they wrote.

It is important to understand that these talents are not something we earned. Our special characteristics are gifts from God. And while we can become more skilled at some things like a sport or a subject in class through practice and study, the desire and ability to do these things have been bestowed on us by our loving Father.

We also have other gifts in our lives, which are not part of our own characteristics, but are related to the circumstances we find ourselves in. These might include our friends, family, where we go to school, something special about our neighborhood, and more.

Scripture Reading for the Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30 (The parable of the talents) – the Gospel Reading for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one – to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.

[Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.]

“After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

[Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’

His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?

Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”]

Matthew 25:14-30

Discussion for the Parable of the Talents Lesson Plan

It is interesting that this parable uses the word “talent”. In this context a talent is not something a person is good at. It is an amount of money. And it is not a small amount of money. A talent would have been about 15 years wages. So the master in this parable is entrusting his servants with something of value.

The parable makes it clear that God expects us to use the gifts and talents we have been entrusted with to increase the Kingdom of God. We are not to ignore them or just use them for ourselves. God expects a return on his investment.

  • What are some ways you can use your gifts and talents to serve God?
  • Do you feel like some of your gifts are difficult to use in the service of God?
  • Have you ever asked God why you were given a particular gift?

If you find it difficult to see how to use your gifts, then prayer and discernment might help. God has chosen our characteristics especially for us. If our gifts are from God, then they will help us build His Kingdom and grow closer to Him.

Consider this quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola:

God who loves us creates us and wants to share life with us forever. Our love response takes shape in our praise and honor and service of the God of our life.

All the things in this world are also created because of God’s love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily….

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me.

The First Principle and Foundation from the Spiritual Exercises

Small Group Reflection Questions for the Parable of the Talents Lesson Plan

  • So if you have something in your life which you consider a gift or talent, but it seems to lead you away from God, what does that tell you?
  • Do you think it can be difficult to determine what your gifts really are?
  • How can you cultivate something in your life which is a gift or talent?

Sometimes others can see gifts in us which we cannot see. We are going to spend some time helping each other see their gifts. For each person, you will tell them something which is special, which God has given to use as a gift in His service.

Do an affirmation exercise. Affirmation bracelets would work here, or you can do your own.

After the exercise, ask a few followup questions:

  • Was anyone surprised by a gift that somebody else saw in you?
  • Would you like to tell about a gift that surprised you?

Challenge for the Parable of the Talents Lesson Plan

The challenge for this week is to pick one of your gifts or talents and dedicate some time to prayer, contemplating how you can use it in God’s service.

Start by identifying a talent you believe is a gift from God. It doesn’t have to be a major talent; sometimes the smaller talents are the ones that can make a big difference in people’s lives. Once you’ve chosen, set aside some quiet time to pray about it. Ask for guidance on how this particular talent can be used to further God’s work in your community or even just in your immediate circle.

Decide on a specific way you will use your talent in service to God and make a commitment to follow through. It’s not enough just to identify and understand our gifts; the Parable of the Talents reminds us that what really matters is how we use them. By taking this challenge seriously, you are taking a step closer to fulfilling your spiritual potential and making a real difference in your community.

Prayer for the Parable of the Talents Lesson Plan

Close by offering prayer intentions and praying the Suscipe (Take Lord Receive).

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me. (Get a printable version)

Resources

Themes for the Parable of the Talents Reflection

  • Identifying Talents: The lesson starts with an activity focused on helping participants recognize their own talents and abilities.
  • Gifts from God: The idea that talents and abilities are not self-made but are gifts from God is a central theme.
  • Responsibility: The lesson emphasizes the responsibility that comes with receiving gifts and talents from God.
  • Stewardship: Building on the idea of responsibility, the theme of stewardship explores how one should manage and grow these talents.
  • Serving the Community: The lesson encourages thinking about how talents can be used not just for oneself but for the betterment of the community and for God’s Kingdom.
  • Taking Action: The lesson ends with a challenge for participants to actively use their talents in service to God and others.
  • Self-awareness: The lesson fosters self-examination and reflection, particularly in recognizing one’s own abilities and how they can be used meaningfully.

Background Material for the Parable of the Talents Reflection

The first text to consider in relation to the Parable of the Talents is from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, which speaks to the diversity of spiritual gifts we receive but emphasizes that it is the same Spirit who distributes them.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.

To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another, the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another, mighty deeds; to another, prophecy; to another, discernment of spirits; to another, varieties of tongues; to another, interpretation of tongues.

But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

This passage highlights that each person has something unique to bring to the table, and no talent is insignificant. These gifts may vary from wisdom and knowledge to faith and healing, but they all come from the same divine source. Understanding this can help us appreciate the talents we see in ourselves and others and use them harmoniously for a common goal.

Another key point related to the Parable of the Talents lesson plan comes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) sections 1936-1937. These sections talk about the unequal distribution of natural talents and graces. This isn’t a matter of divine favoritism but rather a form of divine providence. Some are given more, some less, but everyone is given enough to contribute in some meaningful way. What’s important is how we use what we’re given, reflecting the core lesson from the Parable of the Talents. It’s not about the number of talents we have but what we choose to do with them.

On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The “talents” are not distributed equally.

These differences belong to God’s plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular “talents” share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures:

I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others. . . . I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one. . . . And so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another. . . . I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me. (Jesus to St Catherine of Sienna)

1936-1937

Romans 12:6-8 serves as another relevant reference. This text dives deeper into the concept that our gifts differ according to the grace given to us. Whether prophecy, ministry, teaching, or encouraging, each is valuable and serves a specific purpose in the larger community.

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:6-8

This passage also subtly implies the responsibility to act on these gifts, not to let them lie dormant. In this way, it echoes the sentiments found in the Parable of the Talents, urging us to utilize our gifts for the collective good and, by extension, for divine purposes.

In sum, these scriptural and catechism references offer a theological framework for understanding the Parable of the Talents lesson plan. The key takeaway is that talents and gifts are forms of divine grace and come with the responsibility to use them wisely. It’s not about comparing our gifts to what others have received but about making the most of what we’ve been given, ultimately for the purpose of serving God and enriching our communities.

Youth Ministry Lesson Plans

Youth Ministry Lesson Plans and Reflections

Lesson plans are meant to give a framework for introducing information to youth. This Parable of the Talents Reflection is part of a larger set. Most of these also include reflection questions for small group sharing. These help youth think about how to apply what they have learned to their everyday lives.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Parable of the Talents Lesson Plan

What is the main focus of the Parable of the Talents lesson plan?

The main focus of the Parable of the Talents lesson plan is to help youth understand how they can use their God-given talents and gifts to serve others and grow the Kingdom of God.

How long does the Parable of the Talents lesson plan take?

The duration of the Parable of the Talents lesson plan can vary, but it’s designed to fit into a one-hour session, including the opening activity, scripture reading, discussion, and closing prayer.

Is the Parable of the Talents lesson plan suitable for all age groups?

The Parable of the Talents lesson plan is geared towards youth but can be adapted for different age groups by modifying the discussion questions and activities to suit the audience’s maturity level.

Can the Parable of the Talents lesson plan be modified?

Yes, the Parable of the Talents lesson plan is flexible. Catechists can add or remove elements to better suit the time constraints or specific needs of their group.

What are the key takeaways from the Parable of the Talents lesson plan?

The key takeaways from the Parable of the Talents lesson plan are an increased awareness of one’s talents as gifts from God and a challenge to think about how to use these talents in service to God and community.

Do we need any prior preparation for the Parable of the Talents lesson plan?

It’s helpful if participants have some basic understanding of parables, but it’s not necessary. The Parable of the Talents lesson plan is designed to be self-contained and should be accessible even to those new to biblical stories.

What Bible passage is used in the Parable of the Talents lesson plan?

The Parable of the Talents lesson plan focuses on Matthew 25:14-30. This passage provides the core story that the lesson revolves around.

Is the Parable of the Talents lesson plan only suitable for Catholic youth?

While the Parable of the Talents lesson plan is designed with Catholic teachings in mind, the core principles can be applicable to Christian youth of other denominations as well.

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