I have a dog. They are remarkably different. Gerald Robison, in his book Cat and Dog Theology, relates these differences to our relationship with God. One of those differences is how we respond to the care and attention of God.
When I come home from work and swing open the door my cats rarely acknowledge my presence. In fact they often seem a bit annoyed that I have interrupted their busy schedule. Usually reclining on the couch, they may give me one of those annoyed looks and then go back to whatever deep thoughts have occupied them for the last six hours. When I go to the back door and call my dog he comes bounding up the steps with tongue and tail wagging simply delighted that I have safely returned home from whatever brave adventure I have been on. Seeing me makes his day!
When I feed the cats they amble over to the bowl, sniff their food, and give me a look as is to say, "Is that the best you can do?" When I feed my dog he goes head first into his bowl as if I have slaughtered the fatted calf for him.
I essentially treat them the same but their responses are so different. My dog looks at me and says, "You feed me, you shelter me, you pet me - you must be god!" My cat looks at me and says, "You feed me, you shelter me, you pet me - I must be god!"
That comparison really got me thinking about how I respond to God's care and love for me. Who do I see as the master? How do I respond to his provision? Too often, I must admit, I snub my nose at Him complaining why He couldn’t have done little better. Too often I take His care and love for granted barely recognizing his presence in this world and in my life. Too often I feel annoyed by Him and His interruptions in my life. Too often I'm a cat when it comes to recognizing who God is.
This cat-like disposition we often have reveals itself in our approach to worship. How many times have you slammed your alarm on Sunday morning wishing for another Saturday? We grudgingly put on our church clothes and slink out the door and make the drive to church thinking more about what's going to happen Sunday afternoon rather than focusing on the time we have to actually thank God for what he's done for us the last six days. We recline on our soft pews annoyed at the preacher's long-windedness, uninspired by the songs, and snoozing through the prayers. When church is over we give God a snide look as if to say, "Aren’t you fortunate to get an hour of my time!"
What if we were more like dogs on Sunday morning? We'd bound out of bed anticipating the time we can spend with our Master. We'd drive to church with our tongues and tail wagging, overcome with excitement. When the preacher mentions the Master's name we'd jump up and down. We'd sing along with every song, no matter how we sounded. We'd treasure every moment we had with the Master and when the hour was over we'd look up at our Master as if to say, "I can’t wait to be with you again!"
I suppose we'd all do well to see God though the eyes of our dogs. To see Him as Master. To recognize Him as God. And to delight that he invites us to live with Him!
It's been said that cats have staff, dogs have masters. When it comes to our relationship with God, we all need to go to the dogs.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.