They live to please. They wake up wondering to themselves, “how will I make my people happy today?”…Then they throw in, “and…what might I do that will get me an extra treat today?”
Dogs. Though it may be cliche to say, they truly are the best of best friends to humans. I cannot think of any creature, both human or non, that is so enthralled by the activities of their people.
Our hedgehogs enjoy our company. Our rabbit likes our presence…but definitely thinks the world revolves around her. Our ducks follow us to seek security and companionship. Our chickens enjoy our affection and being involved in the daily routines and outdoor chores. But our dogs- they are all of the above, minus thinking the world revolves around them. No, to a dog, the world revolves around their people.
Our two German Shorthaireds are prime examples. Moses has the routines memorized. He has mastered the chores of taking care of all the animals with us. He knows when it is time to feed the hedgehogs and he reminds us when it is time to get ready for bed. He anticipates every next move and is familiar with our expectations of him.
Jemma is catching on quickly. Every time I turn around she appears in a doorway, she follows at my feet, and she observes intently the very details of our actions. Her observation of tooth brushing time still leaves her a bit puzzled though. She has learned the general order of events with morning routines and, like Moses, she gets a thrill when an unexpected car ride comes along.
What more could you want than to have a wagging tail as your door greeter when you get home? What better way to chill out with a movie next to your husband, daughter, and two best friends?
Yes, argue with me if you must, but there is no convincing me otherwise. A dog is God’s perfect portrait of true devotion and love…Ok, aside from Jesus Christ, of course,…and aside from the picture of true love and commitment in a devoted marriage. And then there is the pure love and instinctive sacrifice of parental love…But…then…yes, then, dogs are definitely next on the list. However, the commitment and sacrifice of our military, law enforcement, and first responders are high on that list too. But definitely next is…you guessed it…dogs.
Winning the approval of their people is the priority of canine pals. Winning the approval of God should be the top priority of God’s people.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”- Galatians 1:10
While dogs long to serve to seek the approval of people, the opposite should be the case for followers of Christ. Whether we recognize it or not, we are controlled by our desire to please. Maybe we are too much of a people pleaser. Maybe we only seek to please ourselves. Or maybe we seek to please God only because we are so focused on works and not enough on relationship. A dog could teach us in this area. A dog wants to please his people for approval. But it is the kind of approval that makes the people want to have that special relationship. The affection, the provision, the adventure, and the quality time.
So should it be with us and our Lord Jesus. Because if you haven’t noticed, we become servants to whomever’s approval we are trying to get. If it is our own approval, we slave day in and day out to get ahead at any cost- to make sure that we are the one who gets noticed or we get that pat on the back. If we strive for approval from others our slavery shines through from the moment we pick out our clothes for the day. Our every action is somehow controlled by what others will think of us.
Dogs have the benefit of serving their masters. The one who feeds them, shelters them, takes care of their health and needs…gives love and affection, discipline, unconditional forgiveness…I would much rather become a servant to my Master. For it is He who provides. He who protects. He comforts, leads, warns, forgives, and He alone is my Daily Bread.
So when you look into those irresistible canine eyes that stare into your soul be reminded of two things: how to love and how to serve. Then go read your bible to get more details!