DayBreaks for 11/13/12 – Jesus and Freeze-Dried Pets
As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:57-62 (NLT)
I know I’m probably going to get myself into a lot of hot water with pet-loving followers and readers of pets with today’s DayBreaks. Please: you should know by now how much I love animals, especially my dogs, so be gentle with me, OK? But here’s a problem that you won’t find in many countries around the world:
America now has about 700 pet “aftercare” facilities, providing funeral services to the nation’s companion animals, according to a September NBC News report. Oakey’s, in Roanoke, Va., performs 800-900 pet cremations annually and provides about 20 customers a year with pet caskets, part of the estimated $53 billion America spends on pets (higher than the Gross National Products of more than 100 countries). The basic charge of Heartland Pet Cremation of St Louis, Mo., is $275 for a private cremation, including a “basic” urn and memorial video slideshow. (For the more upscale, other facilities offer deluxe urns, taxidermy, freeze-drying pets, and creating a synthetic diamond out of pet ashes.) NBC News, 9-17-2012, News of the Weird, 11/12/12
So, what’s the big deal? Is it a sin to have a beloved animal cremated? Or stuffed or even (yuck) freeze-dried? No, not in and of itself. There is nothing in Scripture that says anything at all about this subject directly. But I fear that perhaps we use that as an excuse sometimes and thus liberate ourselves from having to think critically about what we do and our actions.
Here’s where I’m coming from: while it isn’t a sin directly, part of living out of our Christian faith has to do with priorities. That was the reason people came to Jesus and asked about the greatest commandments, or asked him what they needed to do to gain eternal life. They were trying to get the question of priorities sort out and then to be sure they were lined up with them.
This is where it gets tough…and very personal. Freeze-drying or cremating a pet isn’t a sin, but what if we do that at the expense of not feeding the hungry? You might think (properly), “I do give to the hungry…and I’ve got extra, so I can do both.” I understand, really I do. But I ask myself this question: “If Jesus had $275, would he use it to freeze-dry his pet, or would he give it away to the poor?” I think I know the answer to that question without even having to think about it.
Okay. So, I’ve pretty much settled in my own mind what Jesus would do. Now I’ve got to wrestle with myself. I’ve never freeze-dried a pet or even cremated one, but I’ve wasted plenty of money on other things that are of lesser importance than being merciful or compassionate or feeding/sheltering/caring for the poor.
What am I going to do about it? I’m going to try to start making small changes in my life, one thing at a time, so I can give more to the truly needy throughout the world an in my own country. I urge you to join me! If you are so inclined, you can start to do so right now by clicking on the links below to support some of the projects I’m engaged with through my work with I Am 2 Partners, Inc.
PRAYER: God, I have my priorities so messed up most of the time. I’m sorry…I need to be more loving and generous and compassionate and giving. Free me, free us, from the prison on our own selfishness!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
Want to help the poor children of the world? Here’s a couple links to projects at I Am 2 Partners, Inc.:
To help feed and protect the 37 orphans at Bright Future Children’s Home in Migori, Kenya, click here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=RKR8ZNZX4UVPA
To help put in a purified water system for the Good Shepherd Pediatric Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda, click here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=B7U2JA5QSYCRC
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