Our pastor recently told the following story during the sermon. (Here’s the gist of it, not the exact story): A little boy (I’ll call him Jimmy) from a very disadvantaged home was invited to attend church with his friend from school, (a boy from a more affluent family). Jimmy worried all week about what he might wear because his family barely had enough money to buy groceries, much less nice clothes. For church that morning, Jimmy dressed in the very best thing he had, which happened to be a worn pair of denim overalls and some clean, but scuffed, tennis shoes.
His friend’s parents picked him up, and they headed to church. Although he was apprehensive, Jimmy thoroughly enjoyed Sunday school class! He loved singing the hymns, listening to an exciting story from the Bible, and drawing a picture of his favorite character from the story. At the end of class, the Sunday school teacher called him aside. She said, “Jimmy, we’re so glad to have you with us this morning and we surely hope you’ll be back next week. But you need to remember next time, you don’t want to come back unless you’re wearing your very best clothes. We always want to look our best at church.” And that was Jimmy’s last visit to church.
The sermon was about hospitality and not just being warm and welcoming to our family and friends, but showing that same kindness, love, and acceptance to everyone, no matter how different from us or whether they may or may not be in our “circles”. And as that old song goes, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” A good reminder for us all.
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