Hey, everyone! I want you to meet the king of the house! This is my sweet boy, Snickers!
He's really rather easy to live with, though he does like to hog his favorite chair! He's loyal, loving, and affectionate. And he's so excited to see me when I walk through the door after work!
Have you ever stopped to wonder how much better off we'd be if we were more like our pets? No, really, I'm actually being serious! We'd do well to take a lesson from our furry little companions.
Take Snickers, for instance. All he asks for is to be fed and watered. A soft, comfortable bed makes him literally sigh with contentment. And if I give him an extra treat once in a while, he's my friend for life! A few minutes to play or snuggle, and I've got one happy, little dog.
Now, what if we took that same attitude ourselves? How many times do we get stressed, annoyed, or angry because we don't get something we probably don't really need? Even when we're provided with our basic needs, with a few extras tossed in for good measure, we whine and complain because we don't have more. I've never gotten a hint of dissatisfaction from Snickers because he doesn't get dessert or a designer collar or special trips and toys. He just accepts what he has and moves on.
Have you ever watched dogs interact with one another? Some tail wagging and sniffing as they introduce themselves. Then they're friends. They'll go off to explore the world together and play. Now, they may get into a scuffle once in a while, but generally, once it's over, it's forgive and forget. My mom's lab and sister's hound/great Dane mix like to play tug of war with the rope, until one gets mad. After they express their feelings, there's some licking and all is well. And they never stop trying to befriend that cranky dog in the neighborhood, even if they get their head bit off in the process.
What if we took on that same attitude with our family, friends, and co-workers? No gossiping or cold shoulders. And sometimes a conflict that can be resolved by talking openly with the one who's wronged us and moving on. And what if we kept trying to reach out to those difficult ones?
Snickers is loyal to a fault. He misses me when I'm not home. He'll sit outside the bathroom door and wait for me. He'll whine if I leave him inside while I step out to do some yardwork. Nine times out of ten, he'll choose my lap over anyone else's. When I come home from work or a visit with my parents or an oh-so-long walk to the trash can, he greets me with so much excitement and relief. A big smile. Tail wagging. Feet dancing. Tail lolling. And it doesn't matter if I've just gotten him in trouble for getting in the trash or locked him in his crate for a couple hours or ran out of his favorite treats. He's just happy to be with me.
Oh, that we would take that attitude concerning our relationship with our heavenly Father. When was the last time we danced with joy over being in His presence? Or felt limb-trembling excitement at the thought of spending time with Him? Have you ever groaned with longing for Him? Or felt that it had been too long since you heard His gentle whisper in your spirit? Have we expressed our genuine gratitude for the things He's provided us, or did we turn our noses up? Do we wish to be with Him more than any other individual in our life? Do we truly love our Master the way our dogs love us?
So, what has my schnauzer done for me, beside empty my wallet a little sooner, wrinkle my bedspread, and chew up my chap stick? He's shown me unconditional, unending love. He expresses utter delight and joy in the time we share together. He reaches out to others, no matter their size, breed, or color. He accepts what he gets with contentment and gratitude.
That's some pretty powerful stuff to be such a small fur ball. I think it would do us all good to take a moment to consider the lessons our four-legged friends can teach us. Maybe by watching our pets, we can learn to by better humans, more compassionate and content to be...
In His Grip!
"But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee..." Job 12:7a