Jesus doesn't leave anyone out and neither should you.
An invitation to a party.
Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)
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Did you receive one of these invitations? You didn't? I wonder why you were left out? How does it make you feel to know that you were left out of what promises to be a great party? Are your feelings hurt? Do you wonder why I got an invitation and you didn't? It isn't a very good feeling to be left out, is it?
Do you ever leave someone out when you are having a party or doing something special? Do you only invite your very best friends? Do you perhaps leave out the child who doesn't have much money and wears old and ragged clothes? Or maybe you leave out the child who is physically handicapped and has to get around in a wheelchair. Maybe you leave out the child who isn't very smart and the other kids make fun of him. Maybe you leave out the child whose skin is a different color. How do you think those children feel when they are left out?
Jesus said that when we are having a party, we shouldn't just invite our best friends or the most popular kids in school. In fact, he said that we should be sure to invite the very ones that we might leave out -- the poor, the crippled, and those who are less fortunate than we are. He said that if we only do good things for those who can do good things for us that we already have our reward, but if we do good things for those who cannot do good things for us in return, that we will receive our reward in heaven. Would you rather be rewarded now, or in heaven? If you want to be rewarded in heaven, be careful who you invite to your next party.
Oh, by the way, you know this invitation that I told you about? It isn't a real invitation. I just made it up to help us to understand how it feels to be left out. It feels pretty good to know you haven't been left out, doesn't it?
Dear Father, help us to be loving and caring toward those who may not have as much as we have. Help us to include them in the special things that we do. In Jesus name we pray, amen.