"Let every living, breathing creature praise God!" ~Psalm 150:6, The Message
"Everyone is as close to God as they want to be." ~Joyce Meyer
When I was a child, too young to really remember much, our family had a basset hound named Archie. With two siblings and several years between us, I relied heavily on my four-legged companion. Archie was my closet friend. We'd nap together, share his doggie treats (disgusting, I know), and had daily play dates. For such a distinguished breed, Archie was a good sport. But he possessed a spiritual side to him I knew little about.
Archie lived during the era when dogs were allowed to roam free. This was long before communities went hog wild on leash laws. During many of his solitary excursions, Archie would amble over to the church on our street.
I've heard many stories over the years of him cruising down the church aisle, settling next to one of the pews for some quiet, reflective time. Those who worked at the church became well-acquainted with Archie, and seemed to welcome his many visits. There were days Archie hesitated to come home when we called his name. My family members took many walks over to the church to fetch our beloved canine.
Memories of Archie inspire me. Do I possess the same yearning for the sanctuary of God? Do I grab every chance I get to mindfully enter into His presence and commune with Him?
Honestly, I am more apt to become distracted by worldly stuff. I put unnecessary pressure on myself to accomplish things that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Of course, most of those things need to be dealt with. But the trouble begins when they move up above God in my list of priorities.
When I allow this to happen, I forfeit the peace of focused fellowship. Time after time, my mind and my heart become divided by external forces.
It wasn't that way with Archie. It's true, he was my faithful companion. But he didn't allow his family duties to deter him from the deeper longings for his sanctuary time.
Maybe Archie had other reasons for loving church so much. Perhaps he was enticed by treats from the local priest. Or maybe he needed a little peace and quiet now and then. Who's to say what went on in his heart and mind when he walked through those doors? After all, the same God who created us also made Archie.
Being human, I am different. I can think through what drives me, and I can address the distractions pulling me away from the greater path. I have choices. Will I put God at the top of my list? Or will other activities come before Him?
I shouldn't become neglectful of family, friends, home, work, health, and hobbies. But I should follow Archie's example and make it my priority to enter into the sanctuary of God and spend time alone with Him every chance I get.
Who knew a basset could be so inspiring? I guess this old dog can learn something new from a childhood memory of a faithful friend. Good dog, Archie!
"If I put God first in my life and my time, everything else will work out." ~Joyce Meyer
"I love those who love me; those who look for me find me." ~Proverbs 8:17. The Message