Series: Love Glue
Message: Application Instructions
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Mike Speegle
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Brandon Kharns
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 12:9-13 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: It sounds like was an interesting Sabbath day for Jesus and the guys. First, they were walking through some grain fields on their way to synagogue, and they were hungry. So they grabbed a handful of the grain heads and picked out the edible parts. (Sounds like they were just trying to alleviate their hunger; they were not making a meal out of it.)
But then some Pharisees (who always seemed to be around) saw what they were doing and complained to Jesus: “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” The implication was that this was a terrible thing to do; they should have known better, planned better, been better! But were they really breaking the law? Let’s be fair—they weren’t really harvesting, they weren’t out working the fields, they were just apparently really hungry, so they had a snack.
Jesus’ response is most uncomfortable for people of the Book: “David broke the law (in a lot of ways), so how do you explain that? The Law also gives a pass to every priest who works on Sabbath; what do you do with that?”
“And,” Jesus continued, “There’s something (the most accurate translation of the word) standing right in front of you that’s greater than David or the Temple. You are so quick to proclaim guilt, even when someone is innocent. That’s because you don’t understand this statement: ‘What I want is mercy, compassion, not sacrifices.’”
What is it in all of us that struggles at times with giving mercy to others? Why are some of us drawn to criticism more than compassion? Or to rightness and specifics and sacrifice over forgiveness, tolerance, or mercy?
Recalibrate: Where do you struggle with something that someone else does that doesn’t match your understanding of scripture? Where do you think that struggle comes from?
Respond: How does one go about learning to show mercy? Where might God be inviting you to show mercy more than going through your rituals?
Research: Take a look at the nine conversations married men hate to have.
Remember: “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12, NASB).
Mike Speegle is the lead pastor for New Hope, an exciting, young, multi-ethnic Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland. Mike became a follower of Jesus and an Adventist in his early 20s. Pacific Union College was the first Adventist school he ever attended; he met his wife Lorie there. Mike has pastored for 30+ years, served in the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, and has written a book, Big Questions, as well as a number of articles.
Make a mess with some water and a sponge. Using a clean kitchen sponge, or even a small clean makeup sponge, show your little one how the sponge soaks up water. Show them how to squeeze it out again. (This would be a good activity for bath time.) Have older kids see if they can squeeze the water into a container. Soak up all that is good today. Squeeze out that good onto somebody else.
Make a menu like you might see at a restaurant, but instead of having food to choose from, put all the good and kind things that you like on the menu instead. Here are some suggestions: Smiling at someone. Helping someone out. Sharing something. This is your mindfulness menu. Use the mind that God gave you to choose what is good and kind. Do these things for the people in your world.
I haven’t been in too many situations where I have felt like someone was trying to trap me. (Not physically trap me; I’m not that important. I mean trick me into admitting that I am wrong.) Have you ever watched a political debate, especially when one of the debaters is in a really bad mood? “Well, Mr. Other Politician, didn’t you say this which means this, then you texted your grandma that ten years ago and it happens to have all the letters that you used to state your opinion of whether or not children should be allowed to flog each other with rubber chickens on sunny days? Well then, I think it’s pretty clear to everyone now that you, sir, are the Easter Bunny.” Really, why does anyone listen to this nonsense? Yet there’s always a large group that gets so excited about what just happened as if some huge secret had just been revealed. Which it hasn’t.
The Pharisees had figured out exactly how to trap Jesus so no one would follow Him. Honestly, this was a really good plan. No crazy word gymnastics here. They knew they could count on Jesus helping someone in trouble. And no real prophet from God would break God’s own laws. What a bunch of devious jerks. They knew their Bible really, really well. They had every word, every law memorized. But they didn’t know God. If they had then they would have known that God is far more concerned about how we interact with each other and with Him than He is with making sure we follow the rules perfectly. That’s actually why those rules are there in the first place, to help us love better.
So here’s the big question: Is Sabbath helping you love God and others better? If not, you’re doing it wrong. Think about that for a bit—what is it about Sabbath that could help you love others more?
I was pulled over for speeding on my way to church. It was my first time getting a ticket and I was so upset. I was pretty nervous about having to go to court about it too. I asked others for advice and, actually, someone told me to specifically use the word “mercy” so that the magistrate would be nice to me. When it came time for my hearing, I was ready. I had a pretty good speech in mind and was just hoping for some mercy. Before my name was called, the magistrate explained that all of our cases had been reviewed and they had reduced some of our citations. We wouldn’t find out the results until it was our turn. I was so relieved when my name was called and I discovered that my ticket cost would be reduced if I was willing to take a plea bargain. I said yes and paid much less than I was supposed to pay. It feels good when someone gives you mercy. As Pastor Speegle defines it throughout this week’s Daily Walk, mercy is not getting the negative things we deserve. Have you received mercy? How does it feel? To whom could you show mercy this week?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Brandon Kharns is the family life pastor at Placerville Seventh-day Adventist church in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California near Lake Tahoe.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist in a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the lead elder for Live Purpose at Boulder Church.