In McDonough and throughout most of America, dogs are a common pet and a dearly loved companion. In McDonough, on Jonesboro Road, there is even a new pet motel as evidence of how dearly we love our pets: http://www.georgiapawpad.com/hotel.php.
According to an article called “Industry Statistics & Trends”. From American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp), in the U.S., there are slightly more households with dogs than cats (45M vs. 38M). “What does this have to do with Christian Living?” you might ask.
Back in the 1990’s, Rich Mullins, a contemporary Christian musician who wrote and performed songs such as “Awesome God” and “Step by Step,” wrote an article in Release magazine called “His Master’s Voice.” This thought-provoking article calls us to consider “man’s best friend” when we think of the meaning of the word worship.
Rich Mullins had a large golden retriever named Bear. Rich said that Bear devoutly worshipped his master. He said Bear was unusually afraid of storms and always ran to Rich during a storm. When Rich was on tour and had to leave Bear with friends, Bear would get nervous and upset. Those friends found that the best way to get Bear to settle down was to give him something that smelled like Rich. He wrote, “If he [Bear] gets nervous or upset …they … give him one of my sweaters to nuzzle. Bear not only loves me, he loves my stuff, like I should love God’s “stuff” – His church, the Bible [etc.]” (Mullins, 1994, Release Magazine).
Vine’s Greek dictionary says that the word “worship” as used most frequently in the New Testament comes from the word “proskuneo” which means to pay homage to, give reverence to; also to kiss, to prostrate oneself in homage.” One image used is “as a dog licks his master’s hand.”
Jesus made this point in Luke 7:36-50 without using the word worship. This passage tells of the woman who anointed Jesus’ head with oil and cleaned His feet with her tears. When a person understands the debt that has been paid and truly makes Jesus Lord of their life, there is a special kind of love and devotion. The Apostle Paul started several of his letters by identifying himself as “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle…” (Romans 1:1). Paul knew his Master and was devout. Christians can learn much about love, devotion and worship by reading about Jesus in the Gospels, reading Paul’s letters, and observing first-hand the natural behavior of a loyal dog with their master.
Like Rich’s golden retriever Bear, our golden retrievers (Blossom and Bubbles) also are devout. When we talk to them, pet them or rub their belly, they bow down and pay homage to their master (see pictures). To them, an encounter with their master seems to be a moving experience; a kind of spiritual high. We love our dogs and they love us.
How about you? Are you devoted to your Master? Do you (metaphorically) lick His hand? Rich Mullins wrote, “If I loved my Master like my dog loves his, I would be more saintly than John [the apostle of Jesus]” (1994, Release Magazine).
To bring this back to Christian Living, as you go through your day, look for God’s hand in your life. He loves you. He is calling you to come to Him. Look for His handiwork in His creation. And take the time to see and worship your Master’s hand.