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If you are a Christian, chances are good that about 48 hours from now, you’ll be headed to worship somewhere. At least, for God’s sake (and His glory!), I hope so. Worship is challenging. True worship is very challenging. We forget what it is about and why we do it. But I thought that this illustration was a good one and might be helpful:
There are two kinds of dogs in this world. There are the dogs who eat everything and anything (like our yellow Lab!) – toss them a scrap of anything, meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, shoe leather – and they will literally snap it out of the air and scarf it down without hesitation – in the twinkling of an eye!
Then there are the dogs that approach every tidbit offered to them with suspicion. They stop, they sniff, they consider, and then they finally — they either accept the goodie offered to them or simply turn and walk away. The spoiled doggie message being sent here is that the gift you offer is accepted with the attitude that “I am doing you a favor by eating this.”
The “scarf hounds” joyously gulp down whatever comes their way from our hands because they trust that we are always offering them something good, something that they want and they need.
The “spoiled dogs” also show up for treat time, but they convey an attitude that suggests that we need them to be there and, indeed, are fortunate that they did us the favor of showing up to entertain us. These pampered pooches take their invitation as a given, and their finicky feeding manners emphasize that they are “gracing us” with their presence and their acceptance of what we offer to them.
When you go to worship on Sunday, will you be going as a “scarf hound” or as a “spoiled dog”? Will you be there because your soul trusts in God’s providence and presence, and hungers for the divine gift of being able to draw near to God? Or are you here because you are doing God a “favor” by showing up? Do you somehow imagine that God needs your presence and the witness of your worship in order to validate God’s divinity?
PRAYER: May we all be hungry for our encounters with You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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