August 28, 2016
Welcome: Children will enter quietly and sit together on the floor. Welcome all children and ask if there are any new friends today. Remind children of listening skills.
Theme: In God’s Eyes, We Are All “The Best.”
Introduction: How many of you watched the Olympics? There were so many amazing athletes! Let’s think about some of the events that we watched (allow answers.) All of the athletes who were at the Olympics were competing against each other to win a special prize. Can you tell me what those prizes are? You are right! The athletes were competing for the gold, silver and bronze medals. If you are an athlete and you win gold at the Olympics you are considered the “Best” in your sport. That’s a pretty awesome thing, right? In our Bible story that we are going hear today, Jesus talks about what being “the best” or the most important means in God’s kingdom. Let’s listen to what Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament.
Bible Reference (Read Aloud)
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Response: In the parable or story that Jesus told, he said that when you go to a party do not sit in the greatest seat of honor or the “best” seat, sit in a place of lower importance showing humility. Humility is a big word that means to not see yourself as more important than any one else. Jesus also said that if you have a party to not just invite people who are your friends or those of importance who may one day invite you to their parties. Jesus said to also invite people who are poor, who are sick, people who may not be what the world thinks of as the best and who may not be able to pay you back. I wonder what Jesus means in this parable? While we are thinking of this let me read you another story called “I’m the Best!” by Lucy Cousins. (Read book aloud.)
In the book I just read to you Dog proclaims that he is “the best” over all of his friends. This causes his friends to feel bad. Dog soon learns a very valuable lesson that he is not always the best at everything and he is humbled. In Jesus’ parable about the party, Jesus shows us that in God’s kingdom there is not one person on earth who is “the best” in God’s eyes. We all have great value no matter if we can win a gold medal at the Olympics or if we come in last place at the race.
There is another story from the Olympics that I’d like to share that really is a great example of Jesus’ words. During a track race, one runner fell and accidentally tripped another runner just right behind her. Instead of trying to catch up to the pack of runners, the tripped runner showed humility and helped the other runner who had accidentally caused her to fall behind. Later the runner who had been tripped fell again in pain and the same runner whom she had helped earlier stopped and helped her finish the race. Neither runner won gold in that race and were proclaimed “the best” by the world, but both winners won something even better, a true friend who would help them always in life.
In God’s kingdom, we are all in the same “race” together but we are not racing to be “the best” because we all are equal in God’s eyes. God asks us to love our neighbor just as the runners who helped one another did on the track at the Olympics. Sports competitions are not a bad thing, nor is having a party at your house with your friends. The thing that Jesus says is important is to remember that we are all created in God’s image and that each one of us has great value in God’s eyes.
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for making each of us in your image. Help us to love one another as you love each of us and to remember that we are all of great value in your eyes. In your holy name,
Together pray the Lord’s Prayer