Our dog is a Great Dane. Having him has helped me conclude that he has something to teach me spiritually. After 4 years, I have gotten used to his size. It seems odd when
people encounter him and say, “Wow, that’s a really big dog!” or “Do you have a saddle for him?” (I hear that one a lot!) At 137, he just seems normal to me. As Great Danes go, he’s not very big. I’ll sometimes call him a ‘mini-Great Dane.’
The other day when I was walking him I thought to myself, “If we ever get another dog, I want a really big one.” I have become used to his size. But even though I am used to his size, not everyone else is. As an interim pastor I move around a bit. We have discovered that landlords don’t want big dogs in their houses or apartments. Actually the little 7-pound dogs we’ve had have been much more challenging to train. Although I think he is no danger, others do. I see him as normal; others are startled by his size.
What does that have to do with us spiritually? I think two things. First, I am reminded of how comfortable we get with our sins. We lose perspective on how damaging sin is to others. It is like the old ‘Hatfield & McCoy’ feuds. I get hurt, so I hurt back and then dismiss my behavior by thinking, “We all have flat tires!” I need to be reminded regularly that sin (even if I just call it a flat tire) separates me from God and His work in my life. It is not something I should become comfortable with but something I must vigilantly fight off if I am to become what God wants me to be.
Secondly, I can lose perspective on who God is. I am sure our president’s children mostly think of him as ‘dad.’ I am grateful that God has invited us to call Him “Abba” (or ‘daddy’). However, I never want to forget that He is the King of Kings, the creator of all that is. There is none greater and I want to remember that this God who has approached me in Jesus Christ is the one before whom Isaiah said, “Woe is me” when he saw God (Is. 6:1-5). I need to be reminded that the only way I can approach Him in His holiness is by the sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ. That is a perspective I never want to lose.
I hope my Great Dane helps me remember that I can get too comfortable in my sin. I need to see it for the horrific thing it is and work diligently to rid myself of it by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. I also hope this dog prompts me to remember that God is the incredible king of the universe and I am so privileged even to be in His presence.
I don’t want to get too familiar with things so that I lose a sense of the truth.