- Pastor Ralph
4 for 4
All are not pet lovers, but I am. I respect others that do not feel the same way as me and I want to acknowledge that. I grew up in a household of pets. We hand two wonderful dogs, Tippy (Border Collie) and Red (a Dachshund). They were wonderful, loving and faithful pets that blessed our family, friends and neighbourhood. We now have a Victorian Bulldog named Lucy and a Tuxedo Cat named Solara. They are an interesting pair.
My pets have taught me a great deal about many things in life that are meaningful to me personally. They remind me of many truths about God and my relationship with Him. They also challenge me, personally, to live up to their example in my relationships with those around me as I try and live out my faith. God has blessed me with these pets and I hope to be with them in heaven. I feel, based on my understanding of scripture, I will.
This morning, I want to encourage you, similarly to how these four legged creatures have encouraged me. May their example empower us all to live simpler, Christ filled lives that help us enjoy the journey and support others. Here are "Four encouragers from our Four Legged Friends.”
Lesson One: Faithfulness. They are by my side daily. You can count on them like clock work. You don’t have to entice them, coax them or plea with them. Each day, they are by me every step of the way. They portray the meaning of faithfulness, “steady in allegiance, or affection, loyal, constant.” These little animals demonstrate, to me, God’s Hessed or steadfast love. When I am in my office working, Solara will sit quietly on the floor by my side for literally hours, just being present with me. To me, this is a comforting illustration of God’s unending and constant presence, with me, through the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 13:5b says (NIV), “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”
Lesson Two: Unconditional Love. They love me in spite of who I am. They greet me with joy and they long for my affection. Lucy loves her little tummy rubs and Solara loves to be petted. I think of the words of Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV), “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Their love isn’t fleeting. Their love isn’t determined by me saying or doing the right thing. Their love is not based on me playing any games. It is constant, simple and deep. It comes from the heart, like God’s love. They remind me that “God is love.” (1 John 4:16 ESV)
Lesson Three: Basic Priorities. They don’t live life worrying about what they look like or what they possess or who they rub shoulders with. They just relax and live. I am not trying to degrade what we do as humans but, I think pets remind us of the value of relationships and the simpler things in life. They are satisfied with who they are and enjoy the journey. We have all heard the phrase “It’s a dog’s life”, meaning they don’t have all the stress, things are provided for them, allowing them to relax and lay around. And, that is true. But, in that simplicity there is the wisdom we can apply: discerning, from a human perspective, what is really important. Makes me think.
Lesson Four: Healing. I am referring to both physical and emotional healing. Pets literally live out how to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15 NIV). Pets know when we are hurting and they are there with us in our journey. Lucy knows when I am hurting and curls up by my side to say, “I am with you.” When I was growing up, Red would get up on my Mom’s bed when she was ill and would protect her with his life.
Pets remind me how important it is to be present with people. Pets remind me of how important it is to read people, to listen, and to pay attention to what is going on in their lives. Pets remind us that we need to be there for others in the good times and the challenging times too. I read these words a while ago and they stuck in my heart and head, “it takes people to hurt people and it takes people to heal people.” My pets remind me that I need to be part of the healing process in people’s lives.
Four words of encouragement from our four legged friends. 4 for 4. I thank God for my pets and what they teach me. May I apply their truths to my life.
God bless you and may you have a “purrfect” day! Pastor Ralph