Learn to Love ?

Mark 3:1-19

Mark 3:1-6 “Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, Stand up in front of everyone.  Then Jesus asked them, Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? But they remained silent.  He looked around at them in anger, and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, Stretch out your hand. He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”

This story in the bible is written in a way that we can choose to take the side of the people in the synagogue or take the side of Jesus.  And of course we choose the side of Jesus… right?  It is easy to do it while reading from the perspective of Mark, but it couldn’t have been that easy or obvious for those in the synagogue or they would have chosen the way of Jesus.  Are there places in our lives where we don’t see what Jesus sees?
Where we put our work before our family?
Where we put our play before the support of friends?
Where we put our worry before love?
Where we put our will before his?

This isn’t something we should feel guilty about or worry or get angry, but would it be possible in the start of the new year to allow each of us to realize there are areas we are uncomfortable with or about… and can we try to allow GOD to love us as we are?  And with the understanding that GOD loves us as we are can we let go of our worries and doubts and fears… and learn to love?

Our dog Dutch taught mailmen to play ball.  Let’s understand that dogs and mailmen don’t naturally go together.  For some reason, there has always been some sort of strain or stress or fear between the two, but Dutch taught mailmen to play ball.  He didn’t run excitedly up to them or leap and lick at them, Dutch would go into the garage, grab a tennis ball and walk slowly out to the mailbox and drop his ball by the feet of the mailman then step back about three feet and sit down.  The mailman, not wanting to disturb his route or delay his day would lightly shuffle the ball off to the side a few feet and get back to work putting the mail in the boxes.  Dutch would slowly go get the ball and drop it by the feet of the mailman and go back and sit down… and after several times of delivering the mail the mailman would pick up the ball and throw it down the street allowing Dutch to play ball.  The second mailman was more uncomfortable with dogs and refused to play the shuffle the ball trick so Dutch picked up the ball and put it into the open door of the mail truck then backed up about four feet and sat down.  The mailman then went into the truck and kicked the ball out and went back to putting mail into the mail boxes and Dutch slowly went to the ball picked it up and put it into the mail truck and in a few weeks the mailman would stop for lunch by our mail boxes… and play ball with Dutch.

GOD loves us as we are, whether we want to play ball or not, and GOD knows that in life we will come across mean and angry in threatening situations, but if we put our hearts, and our minds, and our strength in GOD then anything is possible …even dogs playing ball with the mailman.

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit, open our eyes, and our hearts, and our hands to seeing where and when and how you see us in this beautiful world.  AMEN!

Jim Dietvorst

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