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 Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: It’s taken a couple of days but today we’re actually going to get into what it means to treat our spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend like a dog (or cat).
We love our pets. In 2017, $69.51 billion was spent in the U.S. on our pets. For 2018, this cost was expected to rise to $72.13 billion. That’s a lot of dog treats and kitty litter.
As you’ve read Jesus’ response to those who questioned whether it was right or not to heal a man’s hand, I hope you noticed that this wasn’t a “Sabbath” issue for Him; this was a humanity issue.
Jesus says, “You care for a sheep who falls into a hole, even though it’s the Sabbath. And you (rightfully) have compassion on the poor animal. So why don’t you have at least the same compassion towards people?” It’s a question worth considering, especially as it relates to those who are part of our lives.
Why is it that we’re so often more loving, more caring, more forgiving to our pets than we are to the people in our lives? Why is it when our dog chews up our favorite shoes we say, “Bad dog,” yet later say to the same dog, “You’re such a good boy”?
We pamper our pets, treat our pets’ health needs (animal chiropractors are apparently a real thing, as are animal allergists), dress them in cute little suits, carry them in our handbags. We fawn over them, can’t resist “those eyes” and let them change our lives.
So back to Jesus’ question: “So why don’t you do at least the same for another person? Especially one you love or really like?”
Recalibrate: List three things you do better for your pet than for your (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, partner, etc). Any chance you have the same issue that the people challenging Jesus did? If so, what are you going to do about it? What’s the best way to respond to Jesus on this matter?
Respond: Why do I, in general, treat my pet better than him, her, or them?
Research: Watch Mark Gungor (of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage fame) talk about this topic.
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.
Play Peek-a-Boo with your little one. Holding your hand or a book in front of your face, move the book to show a different expression. See if your little one can copy your face and tell you what the expression is. Say to your child, “I love you no matter how you are feeling or what you are doing. If you are sad or happy or cranky or tired, I will love you always.”
There’s something about emergency situations. Maybe I’ve just watched too many action movies, but I doubt it. Bang!—something huge happens, people are panicking, now is the time for action. This is the moment that separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls. This is when we step up like the brave heroes that we are and show the world what we are made of. Difficult decisions must be made, and at the end of the story we bow our heads and mourn those we weren’t able to save. I’d like to be that person. But there’s also a part of me that looks at all that I have to do that’s not urgent and says, “Meh, I’ll do it later.” Unless it’s really urgent, it can probably wait. I don’t suggest taking that attitude towards school; things get really stressful really quickly.
Here’s how it probably would have gone down if I were Jesus in this story. I walk into the synagogue and see this guy with a messed up hand. No worries, I got this. As I walk over to him, I realize those evil church guys are there trying to trap me again. So I walk up to messed-up-hand guy and say, “Hey man, good news. Tonight I’m going to come back when these morons aren’t stinking up the place and make your hand brand new.” And I glare at the Pharisees as I walk by and say, “Nice try—how about you all just save yourself the time, and give up. You can’t trick God.”
But that’s not what Jesus did. He could have saved a whole lot of trouble and controversy by waiting a few hours to heal the guy, but He dove straight into it. Jesus had a point to make, and the Pharisees looking like fools was just a happy side effect. Jesus wanted everyone to know that people are more important to Him than anything. You are more important to Him than anything.
BFFEFEL. This is what my younger sister and I decided we would call each other when we were in elementary school. We knew we were best friends but we weren’t satisfied with calling each other BFF (Best Friends Forever). We wanted something dramatic. We wanted something that told people we are each other’s closest friends and that nothing would get in the way of that. BFFEFEL stands for “Best Friends Forever Ever Forever Ever Life.” I’m not sure if were really thinking about the meaning of forever when we came up with this, but we felt for some reason that repeating the word “forever” would make our name more legit. And even though we came up with this while we were kids, we still call each other BFFEFEL. She’s my younger sister and so I let her get away with so much more. Do you have a best friend? Are you nicer to this person than perhaps a sibling, another family member, or a pet?
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.