“From One Dog Lover to the Next”
Barry Klein, Pastor, Staples Church of Christ
I am anticipating that some pet lovers may be uneasy at best and upset at worst with what is shared in this devotion. So, let me preface these thoughts with how much I personally enjoy pets. I had a boyhood rat terrier dog by the name of “Lady” that I still tell stories about to our grandchildren. The story of why I had to eventually give her up was agonizing at the time for a boy.
I put dog treats out on our front step for the neighborhood dogs to help themselves to. When our grandchildren are with us, we grab up some dog biscuits and go to homes of our neighborhood dogs. (We like to be accommodating!)
I don’t particularly like cats, but our daughter’s family has two cats and (when they will let me for the one minute of their toleration) I like to hold them like a baby.
Adam was entrusted with the care of animals in the Garden of Eden. Proverbs 12:10 refers to followers of God caring for animals. Let us be clear, animals are a good part of God’s creation.
But here comes our dilemma. As people, we have a propensity to take the good things of God and push the limits of their place before God and make what was good, now an idol. We must be clear from Genesis Chapter 1, that there is a clear distinction between animals (Genesis 1:24-25) and people (Genesis 1:26). Only to people is given “God’s image” in that same last verse. People are to be good steward “over” the animal kingdom. They are not equal in value.
I know the real value of pet therapy. Pets have a wonderful place in our lives. But, they are not people. These truths above need to guide how we relate to animals, particularly domesticated animals. I am grateful for veterinary science. It, too is a gift from God. But the amount of attention and expense that we pay on our pets must be questioned in light of things that are more important in life... like God and other people.
Please enjoy our pets together, but let’s let the way God has designed life lead us in caring for them as “gifts from God” and not as equals with children and grandchildren even in the way we use language to describe our pets.
By the way, does anyone have a dog I can share a biscuit with or a cat I can hold like a baby?