We have a pack of dogs that live in the woods across the highway from our house. Typically they stay pretty close to the cover of the trees, but from time to time we see them venture out of their hiding place.
I am pretty apathetic to the whole situation, but Leigh-Ann and the girls seem to get all hyped up when we see them. This is how the conversation usually unfolds as we drive nearby…
“I wonder if the dogs will be out today?”
Silence as everyone stares out the van window…
If we see them, “Oh look, there they are…they must be thirsty…we should get them something to eat…poor things…I bet they are so hot…can we stop…we need to help them.”
By now they are in the rear view and I do my best to change the subject so we don’t spend the rest of the evening bringing food and water to stray dogs.
There is a marked difference in our reactions when we see the dogs. Leigh-Ann immediately helps and wants to adopt all of them. I am typically unmoved and then my thoughts quickly transition to visions of a house full of rescued animals (and children :)).
I did have one shining moment this past summer. I was on the phone with Leigh-Ann and she mentioned that she was going to go bring some water to those dogs. I knew that she had had a particularly tough day and figured that it would be much better for me to do it. So when I walked in the door a few minutes later, I offered to bring some water to the dogs.
After nearly having a heart attack she agreed to let me go. “Be careful…just set the bucket on the sidewalk…make sure you talk to them…if they come up to you pet them…”
To be completely honest, the reason I brought the dogs water was so that I could be a hero to Leigh-Ann. I do have some compassion for animals in my heart….somewhere :)…but I really wanted to help the dogs because I cared about Leigh-Ann.
This Sunday we will be focusing on the concept of mission that is empowered by the Gospel. We will look at the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37 (you should review it if you have a few minutes).
In the end, I believe we will discover that the reason we are called to help people is much bigger than the needs that they evidence. We help people because we care about God.
In the end, it didn’t matter that the dogs didn’t come bounding out of the woods to lick me with gratitude, because I was doing it for Leigh-Ann and she was happy. I think the same can be said for the times when we serve with no immediate return of gratitude from those we help.
It’s all about pleasing God!
I hope you can come Sunday for more on that….
Have a great weekend!