I am currently living with my sister for a couple of months and I decided to bring my dog along with me. (he is the little one on the left) It has been interesting watching as they learn to interact with each other as well as with my sister and me.
One of the more interesting things is their figuring out to whom they should be listening. When I tell Coda it is ok to go ahead and eat Shani takes it as her permission as well etc. Today I was listening from upstairs as my sister did a little training session with the two of them together. At one point she was trying to get Coda to learn to play dead at the same time as having her dog practice. It was quite entertaining and I could picture in my head as one would be just about to be rewarded and the other (mostly Coda) would pop up. My sister told me that one time she called for Coda to do position (between her legs) and Coda started towards her and she looked down and discovered Shani there instead.
This all got me thinking about our struggle to remain obedient and faithful to God. ” ‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matt 6:24) Not to imply that we are dogs, but I believe we are in exactly the same quandary as our two little dogs. Which one are we supposed to listen to when one is saying “stay” and the other is calling “come”? For the dogs I suspect there is a combination of inclination to follow the one they know the best but often overtaken by the one most likely to give them a treat.
In our society almost everyone in the commercial world is offering treats of one kind or another; fancy car, softer/firmer skin, guaranteed weight loss, popularity etc. Even if falsely advertised, the rewards of our world are right there in front of us. They are visible and we see other people who have them and wish we could as well. Those rewards are lacking though. They do not include a deeper bond with anybody, they don’t involve a greater understanding of self.
God is the one we know the best as well as the one who has given and offers the best reward. The problem is that the gifts are neither visible nor tangible. While the gift of new life is already given, it is only immediately present if we are choosing to live it. God’s call is more subtle, quieter, and easily drowned out by the others clamoring for our attention but we need to listen more closely and stay when he says stay, or go when he says to go.