Matthew 23:11-12 | Psalm 100:2-3 | John 14:15
God loves cats AND dogs.
First of all, dear friend, please know that you are much more valuable than a cat or a dog. Secondly, please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be either a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person’…those aren’t real things anyway. This is not a treatise on why dogs are better pets than cats–though cats are getting a pretty bad rap in this discussion.
But let’s face it–dogs do provide a better example of how to serve your master than cats do. And according to Cat & Dog Theology author Bob Sjogren, the difference between cats and dogs comes from who they see as most important. Dogs say, “You feed me, take care of me, and protect me… you must be God,” while cats say, “You feed me [etc.]… I must be God.”
Sjogren says that for Christians, it all comes down to who we believe is the main character in God’s Story. Do you believe that God is the main character in the Bible, or that people are? If God is the main character, then the whole story–from Creation to Redemption–is all about him and his fame. But if the Bible is about humanity, then we are the main character, and the whole story is about us and what we can gain from knowing God.
Your answer changes your whole perspective on your relationship with God. So which one is right?
Let’s look at the scriptures Joél and Morgan mentioned.
The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.(Matthew 23:11-12 NLT)
Jesus said this to the religious leaders of his time, and it clearly addresses who they were putting first. He was basically saying, “If you want to be great–and I can see that you do–you’re going to have to do exactly the opposite of what you’re doing.”
Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God!(Psalm 100:2-3 NLT)
Have you ever wondered what ‘worship’ means? It comes from an Old English word meaning “worth-ship.” To worship means to show that something has worth. Come to God, so glad he is Lord that you’re singing…he’s worth it!
“If you love me, obey my commandments.”(John 14:15 NLT)
Jesus told this to his disciples the night before he was arrested. You may have heard something similar from your parents.
Clearly God wants you to know that he himself is the central character in his story. The question is: How will you live? Will you only obey when it suits you? Or will you faithfully respond whenever called, ready to serve at a moment’s notice?
Will you be a cat or a dog?
Questions for Group Discussion
- Have you ever considered who is the main character in the Bible? If so, is it surprising to think that the whole story is about God?
- How does it feel to think of yourself as a dog, in terms of faithfulness and the way you interact with your master (God)? Can you think of an analogy that works better?
- Why do you think God gives us likes, tastes, and passions–if he wants us to obey him whether we want to or not?
Challenge: Work Like a Dog
This may be the least fun challenge ever. But it could also provide real growth, should you choose to participate.
The challenge is simple: Do something your parent asks that you do not really want to do–and try to do it happily.
Just to be clear, we’re not talking about anything questionable here…this should be something you know is the right thing to do, that you have previously opted out of, or for which you have not volunteered.
Reflect on the experience afterward, and write down anything you learn.