Object needed: Picture of guide dog available online at:
A member of the congregation who has an assist dog and is willing to share experiences would add richness and relevance to this lesson.
Dogs are wonderful pets. Certain types of dogs are also trained to assist people in special ways. Guide dogs are trained to help people who are visually impaired. These dogs enable their owner to be out and about in the world. They let their owner know when and where there is a curb, stairs or obstacle in their path. The guide dog helps keep its owner safe. The guide dog and its owner work together as a team and form a close bond to one another.
Another type of specially trained dog is the service dog. These dogs often work with people who are in wheelchairs. They learn to open and close doors, turn lights switches off and on and get items that the person with a physical disability might need.
Hearing dogs are dogs that are trained to assist people who cannot hear. They let their owners know when the telephone rings, the oven timer goes off, the smoke alarm sounds, someone knocks at the door or a baby cries. They go to their owner and lead them to the source of the sound.
All of these dogs are trained to be helpful. They are helping dogs that work with their owners in the spirit of cooperation.
As we think about these helping dogs, let’s think of ways we could be more helpful to others. It may be that we can get the mail or pull weeds for an elderly person, read to younger brothers or sisters, help mom in the kitchen, vacuum the car or make our bed without being asked. Can you think of other ideas that would make things easier for a family member, a friend or a neighbor?
In the Bible a man asks Jesus questions and one of the things Jesus teaches him is to love his neighbor. When the man asks, “Who is my neighbor?” (10:29) Jesus answers by telling him a story. It is the story of a man who was injured and lay along the road needing help. Two persons passed by without helping him, but a third person, a Samaritan stopped and bandaged his wounds and took him to an inn where he would get care.
It seems as if one of the things the story is telling us is that a neighbor is anyone who needs our help. There are many things that family members can do to help one another and there are many things the family can do together to help their neighbors. This spirit of cooperation forms close bonds and honors the commandment to love your neighbor.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2011, Richard Niell Donovan