When I think about it, most places don’t let me bring my dog. We understand (sort of.) For instance it’s conventional to think that taking a dog into a restaurant is a ‘health’ hazard. But Elsie is everywhere at home and we’re never sick. Motels are another example. If you’ve ever had to look for a “pet friendly” place to stay you’d find that you’re limited to less than favorable locations and almost certainly to ‘special purpose’ rooms – that nobody wants to stay in.
We try to take Elsie with us everywhere. Without her, it’s lonely. It’s less interesting. I’m less patient and more anxious. Partly because I want to get back to her but also because I benefit from her alert watchfulness. I can sense her loyalty and defensive love. The list goes on, but I hope you get the idea.
My dog is part of my life.
At this stage become almost axiomatic.
“If my dog isn’t welcome? I probably don’t belong there either.”
And so it is with my God. If my God isn’t welcome, I probably don’t belong there either.
In the past I used to be able to compartmentalize — leaving God at home when I went to work, or out on errands. That was a mistake. So, in recent years this is much less so. God goes first.
In a 12-step group years ago we knew a lady who’d open the car door and quietly say (to herself it seemed) “You first.” Eventually we had to ask what that was about, and she said simply “I always open the door and ask Jesus to enter first.”
If my God isn’t welcome in my relationships, I move past them. Not because I don’t care, but because there is no need to make people uncomfortable. Christianity isn’t about slapping people in the face. It’s about them responding to the call of God. If I let my light shine, they will ask. Jesus went up the Mount and people followed to ask him questions, to be healed and fed. Jesus didn’t feed the Pharisees, they didn’t want what he was serving.
“If my God isn’t welcome, I probably don’t belong there either.”
I know that this attitude will offend some of the more militaristic believers I know. And I’ve written about the deception of confrontationalism elsewhere in this blog. Zealots have a place, perhaps. But Barabbas was set free by the crowd and went back into the world to serve his “cause.” In contrast Jesus went to his death serving the purpose he’d come for – and nobody understood until after it was all done.
Therefore, pardon me if I seek the presence of God and let Him go first?
“You will teach me how to live a holy life. Being with you will fill me with joy; at your right hand I will find pleasure forever.” Ps. 16:11