“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Phil 3:14-16 NIV)
A week ago, my golden retriever gave birth to 6 beautiful puppies. It is her first litter, and since she’s quite young, I had been concerned about her ability to be a good mother. I needn’t have worried about such things. As soon as she discovered what the wiggly thing she had given birth to was, instinct took over, and she’s been the personification of a good doggy mom ever since.
A week old now, the puppies are no longer requiring 100% of their mother’s attention. She continues to stay with them most of the time, but every once in awhile she starts to be a little restless.
Yesterday, for the first time since the puppies were born, she begged to go running with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t let her. She had sprained her front leg somehow just days earlier, and my normal 4 Km route would be too much for her. I took her for a short walk instead. As we went, I marveled at the joy she found in sniffing the bushes, watering the early spring flowers, rolling in the new grass and generally, being a dog! After just a few minutes, she was ready to go back home, and the restlessness was gone for the rest of the day.
As I was contemplating her behavior, it occurred to me that God has also given each of us responsibilities, and in order to accept those responsibilities, our values have to change. Just like the focus of my dog’s life became her pups, our desires and our drive must also become focused on our God-given assignment.
But what if that “God-task” takes up 10% of our time? Or 20%? Or even 50%? What then? Do we, like my dog, become restless? Do we begin to wonder about that new movie? About the time we’re missing with our friends? About the book we want to read? The show we want to watch on TV?
Why, aren’t we acting just like my mother dog?
And God’s response? Just like I want my dog to continue to care for her pups, God desires us to complete the task He’s given us. But He also understands our humanity (He made us, remember?) And He recognizes the need we think we have to just be human once in awhile.
There is a danger, however. My mother dog could have chosen to romp and play forever. If she had, someone else (like me!!!) Would have had to care for the pups, and as young as they were, some of them might have died. We can easily let these “humanly” things become our central focus in life, and when we do, we are in danger of not going back to our God-given responsibilities. Remember, God understands our need for a tiny break from time to time. He understands that we’re still human and allows us to go out and “roll” and “sniff”. Let’s just remember as we do so, to keep our God-task at the top of our priority list, and like my mother dog, return quickly to our “puppies”!