Sunday, October 5, 2014

No Tricks Required

Maggie the Wonder Dog knows lots of great tricks. In case you haven't heard, Maggie can dance like a ballerina, walk like a lady, and sneak like a spy, in addition to the usual doggie tricks. She can also herd cattle. Mamie the Apprentice Wonder Puppy is in training with tricks. She's so excited about life in general that it's hard for her settle down and work, but she's learning.

Little nibble-sized treats work well as reward/motivators, especially for Mamie. Unfortunately, they have worked a little too well. If Mamie sees me reach into the treat jar, she immediately starts doing tricks. If I'm not fast enough with the treat, she will run through her entire repertoire and continuing twirling like a ballerina until she gets her nibble. 

Tonight, I was reaching for her usual dinner treat when she started twirling. I suddenly realized that she thinks she has to earn every single treat. Maggie, on the other hand, works readily on command, but she also understands the difference between a treat and a reward. She knows she doesn't have to earn everything. 

As I tried to calm Mamie down enough to get a treat to her little mouth, I thought how like us she is. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and there is nothing we can do to earn any of the blessings God gives us. He gives to His children because He loves us, not because we have out-performed someone else, not because we know our "tricks" so well. He blesses us because He is good, not because we are. 

It may not be a hard concept for you, but sometimes I have a little trouble with this. There is so much "doing" to be done that the "being" in stillness seems like I'm wasting time. A few days ago, I proudly shared my list of accomplishments for the day with my friend who text'd my back. "I've just concentrated on being all day today." We were both blessed that day, but it may be that the one "being" had more peace in her day than the one with all the "doing".

Selah. Pause and consider. 

What if we turned our focus from doing to being? What if, in the midst of our doing, we concentrated more on the One we serve than the service we perform? All the "doing" in the world is not enough to earn a smidgen of God's grace nor His mercy, so let's focus on the One who loves us despite our flaws, blesses us regardless, and holds us in His hand with a promise that He will never let us go. No tricks required.