Welcome to my party
Explores the parable of the rich manís party from Luke 14.
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
Explores the parable of the rich man’s party from Luke 14.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to be ready to tell the story below, adapted from Luke 14.12–24.
- Tell the children that we are going to talk about parties today. Ask who has been to a party this week/recently. What was being celebrated?
- Ask if they can solve some little party problems.
Reception: You are welcoming friends to your birthday party. If you shake hands 8 times, how many guests have come? What about 10 times?
Year 1/Year 2: Your guests all shake hands with one another. If there are 3 guests, how many handshakes are there? (answer 3) 4 guests? (answer 6). 5 guests? (answer 10). If time permits this can be acted out with children.
Year 3/Year 4: When you go back to the classroom try to solve this problem. If there were 45 handshakes altogether, how many people were at the party? (answer 10).
- Tell the following story about a man who was holding a party.
Welcome to my party
A certain wealthy man was preparing a great banquet for his friends. Now I know that you have all been to parties, but you will need to think big for this one! Think Buckingham Palace banquet, or Richard Branson style or pop or film star type party!
The invitations had gone out a fortnight before: beautiful white cards, embossed in gold. The servants had been busy for days. The silver cutlery had been polished till it gleamed, the napkins bleached and ironed meticulously, the great dining-room table waxed and buffed until you could see your face in it. Beautiful floral arrangements adorned every alcove and window sill. Down in the kitchen red-faced cooks were chopping and slicing, and roasting and boiling, and kneading and creaming, and melting and drizzling. Everything was now ready. The dining table simply groaned with food.
Ask a few children, what would you like to eat at this party? Yes, that was there too!
The wealthy man added a few crackers and party poppers here and there to the table, and rubbed his hands in anticipation of the great fun they were all going to have.
‘Please go and tell my guests that everything is ready,’ he said to his servant. ‘I’ll go to the door and be ready to shake hands with all my friends as they arrive.’
Off went the servant with a list of all the guests to round up, but he was in for a big shock. He knocked at the first door.
‘Oh, I am sorry,’ said guest number 1, ‘I can’t come. You see, I have just bought a field, a great bargain, prime building land. I must go and see it.’
Guest number 2 was similarly employed. ‘Oh, I am sorry but I can’t come. You see, I’ve just bought a new combine harvester, through eBay. What a bargain! It will really cut down my workload and I’ll be able to rent it out to other farmers. I’m dying for a go on it. Turn a few heads in the farming community it will, to see me up there on that model!’
Guest number 3 had just got married. He wanted a quiet night in. He was sure his friend would understand.
And so it was, that at every door the servant knocked, there was one excuse or another. Some of the guests were building houses, some were going to school concerts, and some were making use of the nice weather to get into the garden. The servant didn’t know how he was going to break the news to his master. As he walked slowly home, he could see him standing at the door, waiting to receive his guests.
Ask a few children, how do you think the wealthy man would feel when the servant told him what all his friends had said?
Yes, you are right; he was disappointed, and also angry. It was very rude of his so-called friends, wasn’t it?
‘Right,’ said the man to his servant. ‘We are certainly not going to let all this work and food go to waste. Go out quickly into the town and invite anybody and everybody you see to my party. It doesn’t matter who they are, it doesn’t matter if I know them or not. Be sure to find those who are looking hungry or sad or unwell. Everyone is welcome.’
And that’s exactly what happened. What an unusual bunch of people they were: old, young, poor, rich, sad, lonely. And what a party they had! The servants joined in too, of course, and they made short work of all that food.
- Jesus told this story to his friends. He wanted them to know that God welcomes everyone into his family and into his household. No one need ever feel left out. Everyone is welcome and everyone is special.
Time for reflection
Parties are fun. Let’s think about the celebrations we have enjoyed with our friends.
Thank you, God,
that you want everyone to be included in your love
and to share in your joy.
‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32)