Lessons From My Dog

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3  

In the book of 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul reminds the believers in Corinth that it’s a good thing to examine their hearts before receiving the Lord’s Supper. It tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:28, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” In examining ourselves we are inspecting ourselves to see whether or not we are truly walking with Jesus. The Lord’s Supper in humbling as each time we receive it we are confronted with our own sin, our own selfishness, along with our stubbornness and pride. All the things the Lord hates, yet they are the very reason Jesus came to die on the Cross to set us free from. Each time I receive communion, I also ask the Holy Spirit to help me see these blind spots in my life so I can confess them as sin and enjoy the freedom that the Lord’s Supper provides for those who approach it that way.

A few months back I ran across this question that got my attention. It said at the top of the page, “HOW SPIRITUAL ARE YOU?” It immediately perked my interest so I ran down the list and the further down I went the less spiritual I felt. By the time I reached the end I was completely humbled. Check it out below. The questionnaire went like this:

“HOW SPIRITUAL ARE YOU?”

You are spiritual if...
If you can live without caffeine,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him or her,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, or political view, then you have almost reached the same level of spiritual development as your dog!

To think, my dog is as much as or more spiritually developed as I am, ouch, that hurts. Obviously this is designed to be more humorous than true but it defiantly gets you thinking. After all, I love my dog. She has been the best dog I have ever owned. I have learned from her what the value of a “companion animal” truly is as she has been there by my side these last few years as I have had to deal with ever changing health conditions unlike anything I have ever faced before and its been very comforting to me to have her there. It’s as if God gave her instincts that not even humans have to pick up on my moods when I am saddened or depressed from learning the news of a negative doctors test or if I am dealing with some issue of ministry which always involves people. (You know the kind, Ha!) People are fickle but my dog is faithful.

Because of other peoples schedules I find that most of my counseling happens in the evenings when its more convenient for their schedule and often times I am out late and my wife has gone to bed. Our dog has a dog pillow bed that she sleeps on that we move from our bedroom at night and to the living room during the day when we are gone. My wife can move our dogs bed to the bedroom at night when she goes to bed but if I am not home Chloe will lay out on the living room floor by the door patiently waiting for me to come home and she is usually standing right there at the door to greet me when I walk in, tail wagging and all.

I get why people say of their animals, namely dogs, “Dogs are man’s best friend” as my dog doesn’t judge me, she doesn’t hold a grudge against me in her heart. She never acts nice on the outside but inside has a bitter heart towards me. I could forget to feed her or not take her out and run her for a day and still the next morning she will the first one to greet me, wagging her tail as if to communicate the words of Lamentations 3:22-23, “Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”  

Yes, its a wonderful thing to have a dog like Chloe who reminds me by her actions each day she is loving, forgiving, and faithful. She doesn’t always want something from me either, often times she just enjoys lying next to me or on top of me (she doesn’t know she is not a puppy any longer) with her head laying on me someplace, snoring away which lets me know she just wants to be where I am. She just wants to be close. If I move from one room to another in the house she is right there by my side. She loves going in the truck with me for a drive and never says a word. She just enjoys being with me. She’s very well behaved too. She wanders off periodiclly as she explores the neighborhood when we are outside but with one or two whistles she is running back home. She’s so well trained I can let her out at night out our back gate onto the golf course unattended and she will walk herself. Ten or fifteen minutes later and she is standing at the back door waiting to be let in. She doesn’t know a stranger. She loves babies, children, adults, cats, birds, squirrels. Anything and anyone who wants to run and play and sniff and explore, she is your friend.

Yes, loved one, I am humbled today knowing I have not reached the spiritual development of my dog yet. But please don’t give up on me. I am learning, and I am growing. The Lord’s obedience school can be painful at times but the end results are what I live for. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:5-11).  

Just as my dog loves a good ol pat on the head and the words “that a girl” I am living and striving in the power of the Lord to hear Jesus say to me one day, “That a boy, well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.” God knows if I had a tail it would be wagging like crazy on the that day!


“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24


I LOVE YOU!  





Michael Osthimer

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