Children’s Sermon

Luke 14:1, 7-14

You Go First

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Luke 14:1, 7-14
You Go First

By Lois Parker Edstrom

Objects suggested: Tableware: forks, spoons, chopsticks, napkins. Members of the congregation who could share dining customs from other cultures would supplement the lesson.

Sitting around a table together and sharing food is an important part of the day. It is a time not only to eat, but to talk. We can tell about the happenings of our day and listen to what others have to say. Our time at the table, whether it be in the school cafeteria with friends or at home with family, is most pleasant if everyone has good table manners. We learn from our parents that we should sit up straight, chew with our mouth closed, use a napkin, and avoid putting our elbows on the table. Can you think of other things? In our country these manners are a part of our dining customs.

People in other countries have different dining customs. In the Sudan, a region of Africa, people sit on pillows around a low table and the host pours water from a pitcher over the guest’s hands into a basin. The guest is offered a small glass of fruit juice as a welcome.

In China and Japan people use chopsticks rather than a fork to lift food to their mouth.

In Spain and Mexico some people take siestas following the midday meal. It is a time when they rest and perhaps take a nap.

In a Korean home it is customary for the eldest person to eat first.

The people of Argentina dine late in the evening, about nine o’clock.

In ancient Greece people reclined when they ate.

As you can see, there are many different dining customs. At the time Jesus was on earth there were also specific dining customs and Jesus used those customs to teach about the kingdom of heaven. In those days, as there is now, there was a special place at the table for the guest of honor. Many people, then and now, want to sit in the place of honor. It is similar to wanting to be first in line or having the best seats at a baseball game.

Jesus taught that in the kingdom of heaven the order is reversed. Those people who have reverence for God and are humble will have a place of honor. He said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (14:11).

Being first is not always best. The lesson Jesus taught reminds us to think of others and remember that, above all, God should have first place in our lives.

Scripture quotations from the World English Bible

Copyright 2011, Richard Niell Donovan