The topic of pets comes up often at work or with friends. It’s a great conversation-starter or way to get to know someone better. I’ve also discovered it’s just a great way to bring a smile to others. You tell a funny story of what you’re pet did or show a picture that makes everyone laugh.
Pets are great.
Our attitude toward animals tell a lot about us. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “the righteous care for the needs of their animals.”*
Animals have a special place in our lives on this earth. The birds of the air, the animals of the wild — they give us much to look at in wonder. The herds and flocks provide food. The horses, camels and oxen carry us and our loads. Pets provide companionship, fun and comfort.
We had several pets during our twenty years in cross-cultural service, starting with a turtle, then several cats, over a dozen birds, a hamster, a chicken, and a dog. Each one came into our lives in a unique way, many times arriving at an inopportune opportune time.
Isn’t that the way it always is with God? A fury or feathered creature shows up just when we’re settled into a routine or exhausted or think we can’t go on and shakes up our life. Why?
Sometimes it’s to remind us that we still have love to give and love to receive. It may be that we need something to bring us down to earth, keep us grounded. They are often a help for our children who struggle to fit in, but work the same for us as well. They bring us together as a family or team.
Pets open doors.
Not only do they open doors to our own emotional needs, but they provide opportunities for us to meet new people, learn new vocabulary for starting conversations and teach about the unconditional love of God and how the Creator of all things provides us such amazing creatures for our own pleasure and enjoyment.
When we lived in Tunis, our cat Boomer, went missing for three days. Finally, we heard his meowing from a tree in our neighbor’s yard. Raouf called the fire department to see if they could come and get him down. Kids from the neighboring high school, our neighbors and people passing by all stood along our street watching the scene, as the firemen climbed their tall ladder to convince Boomer to come down. Reaching with a net, one of the men finally drew close to the cat.
That’s when it happened — Boomer fell all the way down to the ground. I knew he’d be dead, but he darted across the street and directly into our house to live to see another day. Needless-to-say, we knew everyone in our neighborhood after that. Thanks, Boomer.
What has God taught you through your pet? What doors have they opened for you to be able to share Christ with others? Have you even thought about your pet having such a purpose? It’s not too late to ask the Spirit to help you see how your pet can serve a greater purpose for His Kingdom.
Nothing is by chance in God’s economy. His handiwork is all around us in the details of creation, in your individual life and even…in your pet.
Grace and Peace
*Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)