Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rebekah's Dog and Theology

Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! – Matthew 6:22-23
Scout Labradoodle, this weekend
SECRET of CONTENTMENT:Sometimes, when life is exceptionally complicated, I take a long look at Scout (Rebekah’s 75-pound, galumphing labradoodle) and wonder about what makes her life so blissfully content.
It’s no secret, of course; Scout’s contentment is all about faith, belief, and trust. Scout is absolutely confident in her belief that Rebekah and I love her and that we will take care of her. Scout’s contentment is rooted in her trust.
One of my favorite unattributed sayings is this one – or my version of it: “My goal in life is to be as good a man as my dog thinks I am.”
That’s a cute idea, it’s a “bumper-sticker” quality sentiment that makes us smile. But, truth is, such confidence works to the benefit of both ends of the equation. When other people believe in us there is a corollary positive effect that actually makes a difference in who we are – even if that “person” is a dog.
GOD: It made me think about how generously and unequivocally God believes in me. Only with God it’s not that the Creator of the Universe believes in me despite myself – God believes in me because of myself. God knows me, at the root of my being, and God still considered my being worth dying for; God considers my life worth living for.
That’s an amazing concept. We all understand how we are lifted, buoyed up, by the blind confidence of a dog who doesn’t know any better. Then how much more should we be lifted up by the eyes-wide-open belief of God, who knows everything and yet considers me – and you – worth the investment of life itself in order to facilitate relationship!
The wonder is not that I believe in God so much as it is that God believes in me!
Worship at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon
WORSHIP: Interestingly – and I admit I am thinking out loud here (my blog is typically stream of consciousness, unedited) – when I think about it I’m quite certain that I show up at Church to worship each Sunday morning (and via my devotional time every day) as much because God believes in me as that I believe in God.
My secret to contentment has always been predicated on my trust in God, my absolute buy-in to the fact of God’s loving faithfulness. But, in thinking about it this morning, I have to say that my trust is amplified to the extent that I accept and act on the wonder of God’s belief in me, and God’s expectation that my living must move beyond worship and into the realm of living faith out loud.
God believes in me!
This is the life-charged life. Not only that I believe in God, but that God believes in me. How else could we possibly respond other than in grateful service, characterized by love, happiness, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? (Galatians 5:22-23)
JESUS (Matt 6:25-33) – “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with gettingso you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Matthew 6:25-33

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