Thursday, December 11, 2008

"How are we doing, God?"

Last Sunday I was so blessed by the little 4/5 year old boy who asked to say the prayer for the little ones gathered up at the front of the church before being sent off to children’s church.
He prayed…. “God, thank you for this church, thank you that we could be here today , thank you for this day..... How are we doing God? …..”
Out of the mouth of babes is often wisdom spoken. His innocent words should be our prayer every day , should it not?
To ask “How we are doing, God?”

His prayer especially caught my attention because of what had filled my thoughts on the way to church.
As we drove out of our complex we passed several people out walking their dogs. I remarked to my husband how we would have reacted with astonished disbelief if any of the adults in our childhood had put the family dog on a leash and taken him for a walk down the road.
Before you jump to conclusions . .I AM an animal lover! BUT.. I’m wondering if we as a society don’t need to stop and ask… “How are we doing, Lord?”

Animals can teach us many things.
Who hasn’t been moved by the ready forgiveness of a pet for the neglect or cross words of its owner?
Who hasn’t been touched by the love of an animal for its young.
Who hasn’t been moved to tears by a bird sitting on the road beside its ‘road kill’ mate.
Whose heart has not swelled with love in response to an adoring, tail wagging dog-welcome?

BUT… have we turned God’s intended purpose backwards?

When God created animals … he called Adam to ask him to name the animals. I grew up on a hobby farm, we raised our own beef , pork and chickens.….but we did not eat the animals we named. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to ‘eat’ an animal that has been a pet!!
So God, in asking Adam to find names for the animals, obviously meant there to be a relationship between man and his four legged friends.
But what was it meant to be?
Was it not that the animals would serve man and teach man, by example, some of the finer points of life ? and not the other way around?

I know a woman who cannot stay for coffee too long because her dog will be waiting for her and doesn’t like to be alone.
Another woman down my street will not go anywhere without her dog and if she is invited somewhere that is in appropriate to bring her dog she simply will not go. She stays in seclusion in her house with her dog.
My neighbour lady has in her will left a large sum of money to her cats and dog for their care in the event of her death.
There are dog hotels with TV sets …. There are dog funeral homes and pet cemeteries.
A local church has a yearly animal blessing service where animals are brought into church and individually blessed by the priest.
There is a retired pastor here in our complex who daily walks his dog…. But he is always alone .. just him and his dog.

There is nothing wrong with having pets and loving them and enjoying their devotion in return …. But have we crossed a line somewhere?
Instead of letting the animals teach us how to love people better …have we allowed the love of our animals satisfy our need for human connections?
Do we now prefer the easy commitment to pets instead of working at building relationships with people?
Do we find it easier to give to pets who require soo little… rather than giving of ourselves and our gifts to the people God put into our lives ?

I’m just asking … I’d love to hear your opinions ……


Anonymous said...

I LOVE the interaction I have with my best friends, the affection, the encouragement, the strengthening, the accountability. These are all safe guards ... and the blessings of those things go both ways. Family pets are great, but they certainly shouldn't take the place of special people in our life.

What an important question your little prayer warrior asked ... "How are we doing, Lord?" I'm going to add this to my daily prayer!

Judy said...

You have raised a good question, Julie. I think you have a point...people are pouring their energies into pets rather than working on relationships with other people.

How are we doing, God? Good question.

charlotte mgcc said...

you know this was a very timely post...just recently someone came to my door to ask for a donation for an animal shelter and to save a life for,
i made him an offer."i'll tell you what i will do. if you support the cause that i am involved with, which is saving the life of the unborn, i will donate to your cause"..........long pause, have a good day mam and he walked away.......dah what have we as a society come to and what do we hold as value and dear.
don't get me wrong i don't like to see any living thing suffer.....but really, animals before sorry not me.

Betty said...

Great question you raise... Although I love our dog, but I would NEVER prefer his company, over my friends!

Marg said...

Thank you for sharing life with me today, Julie.
So much fun and more to come.

Demara said...

I think that's interesting about Adam and his pets. I never thought about that really before and that made me think that I suppose we are all to be Vegetarians! And yes perhaps some people do love animals more than they should and others I think don't as much as they should because they are willing to eat 'any' animal. I wonder about those that 'eat animal' are they sinning when they do so, because those animals are to be our pets? According to Adam.

I would be fine not eating animals. Jeff would not.

Betty said...

Julie..I too loved the question of the little guy 'how are we doing, God?'
So true and a sticky note on my fridge now says 'how am I doing?'
I would definetly prefer human connections..

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Pets seem to offer so much, and I think it is funny that a smelly old dog pet will be cherished by a family, yet a smelly old man or woman will be shunned.

In movies scores of people can be shot without much reaction from the audience, yet let the pooch take a bullet and everyone lets loose a "ohghh..."

I'm really wondering now why I often find my cats much more soothing than most people. Gotta think about this...