Canine Lessons on Living in Fellowship

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by Linda Rex

I hate it when the dog is right and I’m wrong.

This afternoon she sat on the floor next to me, periodically bumping my elbow with her nose. With every bump the mouse jerked and I had to reorient the cursor on the screen. I was frantically trying to finish the last few touches on a PowerPoint presentation for Sunday and didn’t want to quit right yet. And she wasn’t exactly being very helpful.

Bump. “Just a minute. I’m coming.” I gave her a pat on the head and told her what a good dog she was. Bump, bump.

She’s really a patient pooch for the most part. This meant it was important that I get done and let her out the door. “All right! … I’m sorry—I’m going as fast as I can!” Bump.

Silly dog. I realized that indeed the project could wait a few minutes while I tended to the needs of someone other than myself. So I stopped where I was, put my shoes and jacket on, and took her out. As I was waiting for her outside, I heard myself urging her to hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!

And then I started laughing. Because if I didn’t know any better, I’d have to say that she was being pokey on purpose just to show me! She had to wait on me, so why shouldn’t I have to wait on her? As she curled up in the grass in the sunshine for a moment, I just had to laugh.

It’s funny how the simplest things in life are opportunities for God to teach us how to live in fellowship and communion with one another. Something as simple as the Golden Rule and treating others the way we would like to be treated can be easily swept aside when we lose our focus on what really matters—our relationships with God and each other.

Thankfully, if we pay attention, God can draw us right back into holy fellowship with himself and others. All we need to do is to agree with him that we have momentarily lost our way and thank him for his gracious forgiveness and for helping us get reoriented once again. And, if you are blessed like I am, we can also thank him for the pooches he sends our way to remind us of what really matters.

Lord, thank you for the lessons you send us each day, even through the animals and nature that we share our life in you with. Give us open and alert minds and hearts so we can hear and see what you wish to say to us, and grant us the hearts to always treat others as we wish to be treated. In your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”
Luke 6:31