Which animal are you?
Pastor Mark Jeske
It’s a popular online game to quiz people, “If your life were this or that TV show, which character would you be? And to Harry Potter fans, which house in Hogwarts would you be assigned to and why? Or, if you were an animal, which would you be?
Jesus actually played that game in a way. He offered two animal models to aspire to—and once again, infuriatingly enough, they are opposites. More paradox from the Teacher: “Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). What could he possibly have meant by that?
Jesus’ point: At different times you will need to present two different faces to your world. When you are threatened financially or legally or physically, be sharp and shrewd. Evaluate risks and work out emergency plans. Watch carefully what’s going on and be very cautious whom you choose to trust. Expect hustlers and chiselers to be lying in wait for you. Expect manipulation and betrayal, not because Jesus wants gloomy pessimists on his team, but because he needs realists.
At other times present a trusting, soft, and open persona. When wounded people are looking for sympathy and healing, when guilty fools are hoping for a second chance, when the broken ones are looking for hugs and acceptance, it’s time for your dove behaviors. You can be Jesus’ welcoming arms to the victims of the evil one.
Okay, snakes and doves. Now, Lord—help us to know which animal to be when.
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