EARTH: Staying Close To The Master by Francine Rivers

Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature

Staying Close To The Master by Francine Rivers

From: Earth Psalms

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you.  Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly –
not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.

(1 Peter 5:2)

Both dogs and cats have taught me lessons about faith.

A dog loves unconditionally, accepting discipline and holding no resentment.  A dog follows its master and likes to be right at his or her feet.  Our dog Shabah was always where we were.  When we went upstairs to bed, he planted himself right in our doorway.  In the morning, he sat on my feet or Rick’s while we did our devotions together.  He was easily trained because he wanted to please us.  If he needed something, he let us know through his manner and his “puppy dog look”: “I have to go out.”  “Please, please, please throw the tennis ball.”  “Give me a scratch.”  We always responded.  Shabah died, but now Sarge is much the same.

I had numerous cats when I was a child, and cats are lovely but independent.  They don’t need to be with the “master” at all times.  In fact, cats seem to think they are the masters of their own realms.  “Here, kitty, kitty,” doesn’t always bring them running.  Sometimes cats will look at you with that, “What do you want?” expression, and sometimes they’ll find a nice quiet place and just plain ignore you.  On the plus side, petting them is said to reduce stress.  Who can resist that rumbly purring sound they make when they’re being stroked?  But affection has to be on their own terms.  They’ll come when they’re called as long as you’re offering food or milk.  If there isn’t something in it for them, they’ll come when they please.

Don’t get me wrong; I love both dogs and cats.  But in matters of faith, I don’t want to be like a cat, thinking I can call the shots and do my own thing.  I want to be like a dog.  I want to be at my Master’s feet.  I want to serve him the way the apostle Peter describes: “willingly, not grudgingly – not for what [I] will get out of it, but because [I am] eager to serve God.”  When I hear God’s quiet voice, I want to come running, grinning from ear-to-ear, ready to do whatever he asks.

REFLECT

What are some ways we are catlike in our response to God?  Why do we like to be our own masters?  How can we change our tendencies and be willing to humbly trust God’s way?

APPLY

A dog learns to love his master by spending time with his master.  This week, make an effort to spend extra time with God.  Picture yourself sitting at his feet and enjoying his presence.  Ask him to grow your love for him and your eagerness to serve.

CONNECT WITH GOD

Lord God, I want to be wholehearted in my devotion to you, loving you fully and unconditionally because you are my God and you care for me.  Teach me to be loyal, to remain close to you, and to be eager to do your will.  May I serve you with my whole heart, not out of duty but out of pure love for who you are.

I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
(Psalm 63:4-5)

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