What would you do if you were able to have a big party for your birthday, you invited all your friends, and every one of them came up with some excuse for not coming. How would that make you feel? [Wait for answers]
Jesus told a story about something like that, only he was talking about a great big party that Jesus would throw for everyone when time on earth was done. In Jesus' story people made up all kinds of excuses why they couldn't come. Why would anyone want to miss something like that? Can you imagine?
And yet, Jesus tells us that some people are going to make excuses. We might say to God, "It's too hard to be nice to those people when they're mean to me." We might say to God, "I don't have enough time to spend with those other folks. And besides, they're not like me. I don't really like them." We might even say to God, "I've got other things to do. I just can't do it."
And God, as odd as it sounds, will forgive us for that, but Jesus warns us, that every time we do that, it will be harder for us to see God and find God's kingdom.
Let's talk to God about that.
God, we thank you for Jesus, who shows us how to live in the way the brings us closer to you and your kingdom. We thank you that you forgive us when we act selfishly and choose not to follow Jesus' examples. But we also pray that you will help us to be less selfish and more loving of others so that we won't miss you or your kingdom.
We pray in Jesus' name.