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 Testament for Everyone (NTE). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Why is it that we tend to treat others, our pets, our BFFs, so differently than we do our “significant” others? Why do we overlook their lateness, their quirks, their interrupting us?
If I were a psychologist I might have an answer, but I’m not. I’m a pastor. As a pastor I’ve seen things over the years that affirm what Jesus points out in this week’s main passage: that we are tougher on people (especially those closest to us) than we are on our animals (or our friends).
I’ve seen reasonable, committed followers of Jesus at times be so un-both those things—with no explanation, responding to loved ones in ways that leave me scratching my head and wondering what they are hoping to achieve through their unusual responses.
Maybe there’s something we can learn as we think through how we treat our pets. If you’re a dog person, you know that when your dog does as you ask, you pet him, rub his belly, and tell him what a good boy he is.
What would happen if you did the same thing when your significant other does as you ask? (I’m not saying to do the exact same thing; you’re smart enough to figure this out.)
If you’re a cat person, you know how much you enjoy it when they act like you actually exist, when they curl up in your lap or rub against your leg.
What if you responded the same way to your significant other when they do the same? What if you just focused on appreciating the moment for what it is—not what it could or should be?
We usually choose our pets (that one—he’s so cute!); we give them a home, we feed them, walk them, clean up after them, and play with them. We provide for them and they for us. We care for them and they for us. Isn’t it the same with our significant other—we chose them, care for them, and clean up after them? Maybe there is something to what Jesus says about how we do stuff for our animals that we should do for our people too.
Recalibrate: Why am I more caring toward, accepting of, and thankful for my pets than the significant people in my life? Why do I give them more slack than the people in my life? Is that reasonable?
Respond: Who do I need to start treating more like my pet today?
Research: Read about the two traits of lasting relationships.
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.
Try some reflective play with your little one today using a mirror. Our children watch and hear everything that we do. They learn how to interact with others by the way we act. We are their “how-to” guide for social skills. Let’s live love. May our kids see it, feel it, and speak it because they are reflecting our love to them and our heavenly Father’s love to us.
Yesterday, we thought about how we could treat others as we would like to be treated. Try putting those ideas into action. Practice on your family first. Your family is the perfect place to practice treating others like God designed us to. Get really good at being kind and helpful in your home then let that spread from there.
So get this: Jesus puts the Pharisees in their place, reaches out and makes the injured and dead shriveled hand come back to life. Like new. Bam!— Insta-hand. Clearly this Jesus isn’t normal. But did the Pharisees fall at the feet of Jesus and apologize for trying to trap Him? Nope. The went away planning to kill Him. Can you believe that? They had just seen solid proof that this man was God and they decided to try to kill Him! Pro tip: Don’t go to war with God. You will lose.
The only explanation for this is that they must have had big, ugly prides. When you are so convinced that you are right and you are constantly just trying to keep up this feeling of importance you have for yourself it blinds you to everything around you. Do you see the difference between God and these men here? You have God acting selflessly and these pitiful men just trying to stay in charge of a church that wasn’t even all that important anymore. Be like Jesus, don’t be like the Pharisees.
When I was in graduate school, a guest speaker gave a class lecture about her therapy dog. She explained how she got it and how she uses it in therapy sessions. While I’m not an animal person, I thought it was the coolest thing! Her puppy was so little and cute. She said that the way we treat animals determines how we treat people. In this week’s passage, Jesus tells the man with the withered hand that he’d rescue a sheep if it fell into the ditch in response to his question about the Sabbath. Then Jesus then makes a statement that could make an animal lover cringe: “How much more in important a human being is than sheep!” So let’s turn that around: If you’re super sweet with animals and Jesus talks about how humans are more important then you should view humans the way Jesus does. Of course I’m not saying that anyone should treat animals poorly. The main idea here is to reflect on how there may be a difference between the way we treat animals and the way we treat each other.
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.