We have two Miniature Pincher (MinPin) canine children, Cuddles and Snickers. They are shelter dogs so we don’t know their life stories. Although not related or the same age, they get along famously, even sleeping in the same “bed” as we are working in the office.
At times, they do their “Doggie Meerkats” impression as they peer through the window blinds, balancing on the arm of a rocking recliner, no small feat (feet!).
Then there are other times they play outside, running and chasing as if they were greyhounds (the breed of dog we had prior to downsizing!).
However, such is not always the case.
A very long time ago, Aesop created a fable about a dog and its reflection. The dog is carrying a stolen bone [although other variations say it was a piece of meat or cheese] as he crosses a stream. He sees his reflection in the water and believes that it is another dog. He also notices that the “other” dog has a bone and it is bigger and better than the one he has. So, he opens his mouth to bark at the other dog to get that trophy and, in so doing, the bone in his own mouth falls into the stream. Now, neither the dog nor his reflection has a bone. Aesop fables
I see this fable played out in our own family room. When one dog is playing with a toy or chewing on a bone, it matters not that there are 3 other toys/bones on the floor; the second MinPin is jealous and wants what the first dog has. In short, the only toy that is worthwhile is the one that I don’t have! So, often, a tug of war ensues.
How like children to fight over the blue ball when there is a red one right next to it! How like teenagers to fight and maneuver their way into dating the “in” person when there are others in the peer group who never even merit a glance! How like adults who want the next electronic toy when they haven’t really figured out how to use the one they already have!
What the dogs, and we, are reflecting by their activity is discontentment. We laugh when we see our MinPins doing this, and we laugh when we see toddlers doing this; we hurt when we see teens doing this; but seldom do we recognize when we are doing it.
I don’t believe that God sees any humor in this type action. We can seek to make our lives better or to do more for others, but in all things the watchword should be contentment!
In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul said that he was content in whatever the circumstance that was presented to him — plenty and hunger; abundance and need.
Further, we should be content even when no one is watching. In Ephesians 6:5-6, Paul is talking to slaves about their relationship with their taskmasters:
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”
In 1 Timothy 6, Paul speaks of contentment and the lure of greed. In verses 6-9, he says:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
Rather than hustling for gain, it is contentment that honors the Sovereign God who reigns over all and in whom we find our life and salvation through His Son, our Lord. He knows His plans for us … our salvation is secure, and because that is so, everything else falls into proper focus.
Your current circumstance may not be to your liking, but we are called to be content, even as we seek His face for relief. Look to the Lord — contentment in our heart and soul is possible through the King of Peace. Watch Him work and be amazed!
Don’t drop the bone as you try to grab for something else … be content. This is the Lord’s desire for His children.