Perhaps you’ve heard the famous dog and cat theology illustration…
Here’s what goes through a dog’s mind when he looks at his owner:
“You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me — you must be God!”
Meanwhile, here is what is going through a cat’s mind:
“You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me — I must be God!”
If you’ve had both as pets or have spent much time around them, you get the joke.
In the book Intentional Walk by Rob Rains, former Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan talks about how his success on or off the field does not change God’s feelings toward him:
The analogy I have used for years is that when I come home from a tough game, my dog is always excited to see me. She doesn’t care if I blew the game or not. I like to use that same comparison to God. He doesn’t care either way as long as you come home to Him; He’s always excited to see you.”
McClellan’s point applies to our success in any arena of life. Did you have a bad day on the job? God still loves you and is happy to welcome you into His presence through worship, Bible reading, or prayer. Did you blow it spiritually and sin in ways that you assume grieves Him and makes Him angry? Don’t be afraid of Him. “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4.18). God still loves you and is happy to welcome you into His presence as you “come home.”
A cat? Well, no matter how well you treat him, he may not welcome you at the door when you get home. You may or may not be able to coax him over to you for some affection or play. In fact, that may be exactly what you have to do… coax him. God is not that way; there is no need to coax Him. He is the merciful Father who is always ready to embrace His children in love. And it’s because of the grace of Christ in our lives.
As one who has personally battled performance-based Christianity for much of my Christian life, this Gospel message of grace is one that I need to hear over and over. Perhaps you also needed to hear it. If so, I hope you have been encouraged. God loves you.