Objective: To use Reggie and Blue as examples of treating others unkindly and to help the children understand the Golden Rule.
Scripture: Mark 12: 30-31
Good Morning. Reggie and I have a story for you this morning. To set the stage, let’s think first about something Jesus said when a group of religious leaders asked him: "what is the most important commandment?" Jesus told them that the most important thing for people to do is to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. Then he added that the next important thing is to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. One way to love our neighbor is to treat other people the way we would like to be treated. Now hold on to that thought: Love others and treat other people the way you want to be treated.
Our story is about Reggie and Blue. Now you know about Reggie, but what you might not know is that we have another dog, an Australian Blue Heeler. Her name is "Blue". Blue is an outside dog. She weighs about 30 pounds and can stand under Reggie. Blue is really Herb’s dog. She rides with Herb in the ‘gator all over the farm. She helps him drive the cattle. She plays in the fields – rolling in the cow manure (which is the best reason I know for Blue being an outside dog.) She chases squirrels in the woods. Blue doesn’t get a bath very often but sometimes she jumps in the creek to cool off. Her very favorite treat is a bone that she has buried and aged for several weeks. But Blue thinks that Reggie has the best life.
Reggie lives in the house. He rides in the car with us and goes to a lot of places. Every Wednesday he goes with me to the hospital to visit the patients there. He comes to church and gets a lot of attention. Reggie gets a bath at least once a month and he gets his teeth brushed every week before we make our hospital rounds. Reggie’s favorite treat is to go to Dairy Queen and get a small dish of vanilla ice cream. But Reggie thinks that Blue has the best life.
Not long ago Blue was enjoying her favorite treat, a well-aged bone. Reggie saw Blue with the bone and stopped short. Now do you suppose Reggie thought, "I am so glad that Blue has that nice bone? I am going to just sit here and enjoy Blue’s enjoying the bone?" Nope!
Reggie said (at least I think he said) "I want that bone and I am going to get it because I am bigger than Blue." So with one leap Reggie sent Blue rolling across the yard like a bowling ball. He snatches the bone. He doesn’t run with it. He just lies down and crunches it, while Blue watches from a distance.
Do you think that Reggie was treating Blue the way he would like to be treated? (Children respond.) Of course not. He wouldn’t like it at all if some big super dog came by and bowled him over and took that bone.
Most of the time Reggie is a sweet, kind, loving and gentle dog; but occasionally he picks on Blue. Maybe because she is so much smaller and he wants something that she has. Or maybe he is jealous because he would really like to ride in the ‘gator with Herb. Sometimes Reggie thinks he’s playing with Blue but he is so big that it isn’t much fun for Blue. So he doesn’t always treat Blue the way he would like to be treated.
Sometimes boys and girls and even big folks are a lot like Reggie. Most of the time we are kind and loving but sometimes we pick on people who are smaller or in some way weaker or maybe just different from us. We may push them around, take their toys, say unkind things, grab the biggest donut or even tease in a way that isn’t very funny to them. When we do things like that, we aren’t treating others the way we want to be treated. We aren’t acting in a loving way.
If you ever start to say something unkind, or do something that might make someone feel bad, ask yourself: "Is this the way I want to be treated?" And remember that Jesus said to love our neighbor just as much as we love ourselves.
Heavenly father, forgive us when we act in a way that is unkind or selfish. Help us to love others as much as we love ourselves. Amen.
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