By Jody Bennett
Having a dog is very good for one's ego.
To have a creature greet you like a celebrity every time you come home, look at you with slavish devotion and follow you "doggedly" around as if they are afraid you will disappear at any moment is healing balm in a world of criticism and disappointments.
Having a cat, as far as I remember from my cat-owning days, does not bestow on you the same king-like status though; cats might yawn from where they are curled up on the couch as you walk in the door, or perhaps get up to meow near their food bowl in complaint at the delay in feeding them.
Or they just won't be there if they have better things to do.
Dogs are dependant, cats are independent. That is why dogs have a reputation for being man's best friend and are the inspiration for such tales of faithfulness as Red Dog or Lassie.
I am not trying to get into a cat-lovers versus dog-lovers argument here, as I think both make good pets, but they do display two extremes of responses to kindness; much like our own attitudes towards God when we realise He loves us and wants to be in relationship with us so much that He sent Jesus to die in our place for our sins (wrongdoing).
We can have the cat's attitude of, "My master cares for me, feeds me, pets me, provides for me and lets me sleep on his bed, which is proof that I am special and valuable, and it is only what I deserve."
Or we can have the dog's attitude, which says: "My master cares for me, feeds me, pets me, provides for me and lets me sleep on his bed, which is proof that he is such a wonderful, loving master, and it is more than I deserve."
God loves and draws you to Himself, not because you are so important or talented, but because He is so gracious and long-suffering, as the Bible says "all our good deeds [done in our own strength] are as filthy rags". But when we do come to Christ, we realise we are valuable, unique and beloved in Jesus and our gratitude causes us to love, obey and praise Him even more.