A skit about the Kingdom of God.
(Note: I use these skits to introduce a lesson. This skit has a little bit after the teaching. I don't have the lesson included in the skit. I just designated "***teaching time***" in the script. You will need to fill in this bit. The skit also ends with "Let's go play." because this takes place just before games at AWANA for us. You will need to change this to whatever your next activity is.)
NARRATOR - the one teaching the lesson
WORKERS - 6-10 volunteers to act out the skit (you may want to involve the whole class)
EARLY WORKER - a "volunteer" who isn't too happy with the arrangements
NARRATOR: We are going to continue with Jesus' parables. Today we are doing the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard from Matthew 20. To help me with this story I need 2-3 volunteers. Wait. Wait until you hear what I need. I need 2-3 people to pick grapes for me. (Mime picking grapes.) In exchange, I will pay you one denarius – or in this case a chocolate coin. (Choose 2-3 volunteers and have them start picking grapes.)
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard."
A denarius was a small silver Roman coin. It was the most common coin in circulation. It was about the size of a nickel, and it was a daily wage for an unskilled worker or common soldier. It would be the equivalent today of making about $20 a day, which is less than minimum wage.
The denarius survives today in the name of money in several counties. For example, the dinar is still used as currency in several modern Arabic-speaking nations. The Spanish word dinero derives from the Latin word denarius. In France…
EARLY WORKER: (Clears throat) We're still picking over here.
NARRATOR: Oh, sorry.
"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing."
I need 2-3 more people to help out. (Have them start picking grapes.)
"He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went."
Now the term "the third hour" means about 9:00 in the morning. They used a 12-clock to measure time during the day. This ran from sunrise to sundown, and there were always 12 hours. The length of the hour would vary in length depending on the season. In the summer, when the sun comes up earlier and goes down later, the hours were longer. In the winter…
EARLY WORKER: I think my arm is going to fall off.
NARRATOR: Sorry, again.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing."
(Get another 4-5 volunteers and have them start picking grapes.)
EARLY WORKER: (Gives the narrator a dirty look.)
NARRATOR: I know, I know, I'm getting on with it.
"About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
"'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'"
So I need 2-3 more people to pick grapes.
"When evening came…"
You can stop picking now.
EARLY WORKER: Phew!
NARRATOR: "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius."
(Start paying everyone a chocolate coin then pause before paying the first people.)
"So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius."
(Give each a chocolate coin.)
"When they received it, they began to grumble…"
EARLY WORKER: Hey! Wait a minutes. I've been up here doing this (mimes picking) all this time until my arm almost falls off, and I get one lousy chocolate coin, the same as those who were up here for two seconds?!?
NARRATOR: I am not being unfair. That is exactly what I agreed to give you. Have a seat and let me see if I can explain.
EARLY WORKER: Hrrph!
NARRATOR: That's exactly how the workers in the story reacted. "they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'"
So does that help you understand why you got the same payment?
EARLY WORKER: I'm sorry. I was busy eating my chocolate. What did you say?
NARRATOR: Let's go play.