|Theme:||God rewards those who welcome his disciples. Proper 8 (13) Yr. A|
|Object:||Some pages of stickers and/or stars given for rewards.|
|Scripture:||“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:40-42 (NIV)|
Stickers—I am sure you have seen a lot of these. Your teachers at school, and maybe even your parents, often use stickers to reward your good behavior. Nothing makes a child prouder than showing off a new sticker. It gives them a feeling of pride and accomplishment. It is the proof of a job well done! Children aren't the only ones who like to get rewards. God knows that all of us, big or small, are also motivated by rewards. The Bible contains many exciting promises of rewards for those who are faithful to God's teaching.
When Jesus was sending out his twelve disciples, he warned them that being his disciple wasn't going to be easy. They would often be mistreated, rejected, and abused. In our lesson last week, Jesus assured that God would watch over them and keep them safe. He also promised that God would reward those who received his disciples with kindness and welcomed them into their homes and was kind to them.
"Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me," Jesus told them. Who is the one who sent Jesus? It is God the Father. Isn't it wonderful that we can know that when we welcome those who come to us in Jesus' name, it is the same as welcoming Jesus and when we welcome Jesus, we also welcome God the Father who sent him? Jesus went on to tell the disciples that whoever welcomes a prophet would receive the same reward as the prophet and that whoever welcomes a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. Jesus also promised, "If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of my disciples, that person will certainly not lose their reward."
I guess stickers are a pretty good reward for doing something good at school or for keeping our room clean at home, but they don't compare to knowing that God is pleased with us and that one day we will receive our reward. To hear the Father say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" is reward enough for me.
Father, help us to be faithful to your teachings each day. Help us to welcome those who come to us in Jesus' name and care for others as we offer even a cup of cold water in your name. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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