A boy named Jack made it particularly difficult for others to believe God had a special purpose for him. Listen to his story:
"Strong Arm Jack" stood tall and confident as he stepped up to the plate. If anyone could hit it out of the ballpark, it was Jack. A chant from the crowd started low and built to a loud roar as the pitcher wound up for the throw. "Go, Jack go! Go, Jack, go!"
Never mind that Jack was the meanest kid in Star Elementary School. Never mind that he stole kids lunches and ruled the playground with terror. Right now, Jack was their only hope for the City Trophy. Right now, Jack was their hero. "Go, Jack, go! GO, JACK, GO!"
Jack swung once. "Strike one!" the umpire shouted above the roar.
Jack swung twice. "Strike two!" the umpire shouted to the surprised crowd.
All was quiet when the third pitch raced toward Jack's bat. He sliced the bat through the air with all the power he could muster. "Strike three, you're out!" the umpire's voice rang in his ears.
The silence from his team and fans cut his heart, and the voice inside his head shouted, "You are a failure! You can't do anything right. You're worthless!"
The next week was more miserable than usual for Jack. He didn't show it, of course. He didn't want them to know he felt like a failure. He didn't want them to know that things at home were bad and that his performance at the game made it worse. He didn't want anyone to know that he didn't like himself, and so he acted like he hated everyone else.
On Friday, he sat by himself at lunch, staring at his sandwich and thinking about who he could make feel as miserable as he was. That's when Will's voice pulled his attention back to the lunch room.
"Hey, Jack!" Jack looked up to see Will smiling. "What do you want, pipsqueak?" Jack grumbled as he ripped a bite from the PB&J.
Will Graham was the smallest boy in his class, a fact Jack rubbed in constantly, but for some reason, Will didn't seem bothered by it. "I just want you to know that I think you're an amazing ball player. I love to watch you bat. You've been given a real gift, Jack. No one can be perfect all the time, but that doesn't mean you're not an incredible player."
Jack was too surprised to say anything, so he just stared back at Will. "I was wondering," Will continued, "would you like to sit with some of us for lunch?"
Will smiled at Jack, and Jack felt something he hadn't felt in a long time, accepted. "Uh, sure, okay." Jack mumbled. As he gathered his lunch, Jack did something no one at Star Elementary had ever seen. Strong Arm Jack smiled.
What are some reasons Jack was so mean?(
Things at home were bad; he felt like a failure; he didn't think anyone liked him. He wanted others to feel as bad as he did.)
What did Jack do to deserve kindness from Will? (
Listen to what the Bible says in
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them.
God, the Creator/King, made every person He created in His image. Does that mean we look like Him? (
Not physically! It means we have a spirit and a soul that will live forever. It means He gave us the ability to reflect some of His attributes--like love, truth, mercy, faithfulness, and desire for relationships.)
Here's an amazing truth: Every person you know is a masterpiece created by the Creator/King! Not everyone makes choices that please the Creator/King, but that doesn't make him less valuable to God and it shouldn't make them less valuable to us. From the moment a baby starts his life, he or she is a masterpiece.
Read these instructions from Jesus about how to treat others in
"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which
hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
How does Jesus say we are to treat our enemies? (
Can you think of ways that Jesus practiced this towards His enemies?
This is so different from what we want to do to our enemies! When someone hates you, says bad things about you, or hurts you, what do you want to do to him?
When you are not sure of how to treat someone, what instructions does Jesus have for you in
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
Can you think of ways that Jesus practiced this towards others?
You cannot control how others treat you, but you can control how you treat others. Is there someone you are treating more like garbage than God's masterpiece? If so, what can you do to change that? (
Ask God for a heart of compassion toward the person, try to say nice things even if he/she is mean.)
WHY DOES THIS MATTER:
Because God is the Creator/King, all His creation has value, especially human beings.
Because God is the Creator/King, every single person is a masterpiece that God considers very important.
Talk to God about the people you are having trouble being kind to. Ask Him to help you see them as His Masterpiece and to show you how to treat them the same way you would like to be treated.
Because God is Creator King, I will ________________________.
(Note: Fill in the blank by sharing a specific action point.)