Children's Readings: Luke 9:51-62
Marissa's List for a Perfect Friend
What qualities does a good friend have?
When he finished preaching in Galilee, Jesus firmly decided to go to Jerusalem. He sent followers ahead. They went into a village in Samaria and tried to prepare the people for him. But, the village didn't welcome them because Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem.
When James and John saw this happen, they asked Jesus, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven and burn those people up?" Jesus turned around and told them off. In the end, Jesus and his followers went to another village.
Along the way, someone said, "Lord, I will go wherever you go."
Jesus replied, "Foxes have their lairs, birds have their nests, but the Son of Man doesn't have a place he can call his home." Jesus called out to another person, "Follow me!"
"Lord, let me leave first," the man replied, "and bury my father."
"Send those who are dead to bury their dead!" Jesus insisted. "But you must leave and proclaim God's Kingdom!"
A third man said, "I will follow you. But let me first say goodbye to my family."
"No one who starts a job but keeps looking back can serve in God's Kingdom!" Jesus shot back.
Mrs. Tomel wrote an assignment on the board for her class. "On a piece of paper write three qualities the perfect friends has." Everyone in her class, including Marissa, got out a piece of paper and quietly wrote down the qualities for an ideal friend. After a few minutes, Mrs. Tomel told her class to put down their pens and pass in their papers.
One by one, Mrs. Tomel read the papers from the class out loud and wrote the results on the board. Many in the class wrote "Nice" and "Don't bully." Others wrote "Be helpful" and "Play with you."
When Mrs. Tomel read Marissa's list, she stopped for a moment. "Marissa has an excellent list," Mrs. Tomel started again. "Here's what she wrote. 'The perfect friend stays with you even when you have so many problems you don't know what will happen next. The perfect friend puts you first. And when the perfect friend spends time with you, they are only concerned about you.'"
Then Mrs. Tomel turned and wrote three words on the board: Loyalty, Priority, and Single-Minded. "Marissa has just described three qualities of a perfect friend. The first quality of a perfect friend is Loyalty; they stand by you no matter what. The second quality is Priority. The word 'priority' means to 'put first.' A perfect friend will always put you first. The last quality is Single-Minded, which means "keep only one thing in mind" or "do only one thing at a time." When the perfect friend spends time with you, they keep only you in mind. They don't try to do two things at once."
Like Marissa, Jesus described the perfect friend. When we are friends with Jesus, he expects us to be loyal, make him a priority, and be single-minded. And, he wants us to help others, not bully others who don't help us, like James and John wanted to do.
Good friends of Jesus put him first in their lives. They always keep him first. And they don't let anything get in the way of Jesus.
How can you be a good friend to Jesus?