Today, I had the privilege and joy of playing with five (FIVE!!) dogs while my sister was interviewed. WOOT! While there, I was shown an illustration which helps me to better understand trust ~ AND God used one of my favorite animals of His creation: dogs!
Dogs depend totally on their owners: for food, for shelter, for love, for companionship, for their everything. And as I played “fetch” with these energetic canines, their unique personalities quickly emerged.
One labrador knew how to play the game. She joyfully scampered after the ball, retrieving it, and dropping it near my feet – tail wagging to let me know she was ready for the next throw.
Another adeptly caught the tennis balls, yet refused to give them up – he constantly hoarded them, wanting to play the game but diligently guarding all the balls he caught.
In a similar fashion (this is by no means a perfect analogy), people are completely dependent on God, who provides all things and holds the universe together. Without Him, nothing can exist. Nothing truly “belongs” to us – all things were made by God and therefore all things belong to Him. As the owner gives the wondrous gift of a tennis ball to the dog, God provides us numerous undeserved blessings.
Now, we can respond in one of two ways. Like the labrador, we can entrust what has been given to us back to our heavenly Father, and find fulfillment and joy in being able to “play the game” and carry out our design. The tennis ball was not created to be hoarded in a game of fetch, but to be thrown by the owner and retrieved by the dog. Without the dog’s surrender of “its” ball, he cannot experience the ecstatic happiness at doing what the retriever is driven to do: retrieve.
Or, we can follow the alternate path demonstrated by the second dog. Ignoring that God gives us these blessings, we greedily hold onto every blessing He graciously bestows. Maybe it’s our job, our relationship, our reputation, our technologically advanced toy – what is my tennis ball? What is yours? Because we refuse to let go, we so easily lose sight of what truly gives us joy and instead focus on something that cannot satisfy.
The dog cannot throw the ball itself and then chase after it: it must give up the ball.
My dad says, “God blesses us so we can bless others.” Loving others as we would love ourselves, for the glory of our Father in heaven.
How can we do such if we refuse to surrender what we ourselves do not deserve?