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All God's Children Have Shoes
(an object lesson using a shoe)

There are two things each of us has on our feet today: shoes. There are white ones and red ones and black ones and brown ones -- all kinds of shoes! There are lace-ups and pull-ons and buckles and sandals -- all kinds of shoes!

But did you know that in the time when Jesus lived, not everyone had shoes? The poorest people and the slaves often had to go without shoes. Now that may sound like fun for awhile -- we all like to go barefoot sometimes. But it wasn't fun when you had to work or walk a lot with no shoes. Pretty soon, your feet were very sore.

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the youngest son of a very loving father took his inheritance early and ran away from home. For awhile he thought he was big stuff because he had lots of money to spend, but as the money ran out so did all those new "friends" he had made. Soon he was all alone: no money, no friends, no food, nothing.

He realized how foolish he had been to leave his family, and he decided that he would return home. He knew he had given up his right to be a son, so he would ask to be a servant. At least then he would have something to eat.

Do you remember the story? As he approached home, his father recognized him from far away and ran to greet him. Even though the son had been wrong, the father still loved him. And one of the things the father did was call for shoes to be brought and placed on his son's feet.

Why shoes? Because shoes represented his acceptance as a son. The father would not send him out to be a servant, but received him back into the family as a son. And sons get shoes.

That story represents the way God loves you and me. Even though we don't deserve it, God wants to be our Heavenly Father and to make us His children. He wants to put shoes on our feet -- to help us understand that He loves and accepts us.

So every time you look down and see shoes on your feet, let it be a reminder of just how much God loves you! (JMD)
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