A Dog Bringing Gifts
Jan 2, 2021 981
Not long ago, we got a new puppy. His name is “Franklin.” We call him “Frankie.” Whenever we walk in through the door or when he meets someone new, Frankie likes picking up his toys and bringing them to the person he is meeting. Then he walks all around them, growling in a kind of cute, low growl. We thought it was all very charming. Why wouldn’t you?
But little Frankie starting having some behaviour problems, and after doing all we could do, we brought in a dog trainer. He told us that Frankie was a very insecure and anxious dog. Part of it was due to his personality, and part of it was because he had been attacked as a puppy by large, vicious dogs, on two separate occasions.
When Frankie greeted us bearing gifts he was showing his insecurity, and that insistent low growl was a demand to be appreciated and not to be hurt.
My dog always bringing me gifts is not a good thing. And there’s an important lesson here about how you should relate to God.
Throughout history, people have approached their conception of God like that too. They have come bearing gifts, hoping that if god finds them acceptable, he won’t harm them. This is why people have sacrificed to their gods throughout history.
This is because most people throughout history have had a very wrong idea of what God is like. They have thought of the gods as someone who needs to be appeased, and they have brought him gifts.
These gifts have been ranged from offering fruit before a small household idol, to sacrificing people to volcanoes. The gods have been viewed as we see people. In many cultures its customary to offer a gift when you meet someone for the first time. The more that we want to impress that person, the more valuable the gift will be.
But that’s not what God is like at all. God doesn’t need to be appeased! He doesn’t need you to convince him that he should take notice of you, do good to you, or even love you. No! The reality is completely the opposite to this!
God doesn’t need to thank you for your gifts; you need to thank him for his.
God already loves you and cares for you. He isn’t waiting for you to appease him. In fact that shows such a lack of understanding of what God is like that it is almost insulting!
God loved you in your sin and in your poverty, when you had nothing to offer him. And, instead of waiting for you to bring him gifts, he gave you a gift, the most valuable gift of all!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, NIV).
God doesn’t need to thank you for your gifts; you need to thank him for his!
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).
Sometimes, when my wife and I are invited by friends to have lunch or dinner with them, we ask in response, “What can we bring?” And the answer is often, “Just bring yourself.”
That’s what God says too. He doesn’t want us to be like my little dog Frankie. Just bring yourself.