The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love: I have drawn you with loving kindness” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV.
I have 5 cats. I never wanted the first one, but four more appeared. An abandoned cat, a mama and kitten, a barn visitor, and a rescue from the junk yard assembled to form my feline family. As an animal lover, I responded to my duty with care, attention, and devotion. After all, they are God’s creatures.
Loving all creatures, with the exception of the snake that has yet to redeem himself in my opinion, I am really a Dog Person. I grew up with dogs and find them to be great companions, alarm systems, car buddies, foot warmers, entertainment, kitchen floor mess cleaners (as in crumb catchers), and absolute unconditional lovers. My dogs have supported me through All-Of-It.
Therefore, not really being a Cat Person and really being a Dog Person, a tension exists between my devotion of duty and the devotion of the heart. The activities performed under those labels appear identical yet the impetus beneath them comes from different wells of intent. The bucket drawn from each is equally full, allowing me to perform the intended duties.
My cats require very little in terms of care and feeding and are patient and reserved. Yet, my one dog is a clock watcher and will let me know every 12 hours that food is due through extreme behaviors like pillow throwing or rug schmushing until the desired object is in the expected place: Food in The Bowl.
I treat them equally as far as veterinary visits, baths, and comfort measures and they all have individual bedding and toys.
Our Heavenly Father offers us both duty and devotion. His duty is revealed throughout the Old Testament as the stories of Israel’s disobedience to God are told. Pushing His limit of tolerance to near destruction of His people and being angered to threaten annihilation, He holds them close yet again with devotion of his heart.
His action toward us may be indistinguishable between duty and devotion. He has loved us, cared for us, provided for us, trained us, taught us, and yet again and again holds us close to His heart. It is His nature.
My cats have no idea that they are not top dogs because they receive the same as my dog.
We never have to question if God’s love for us is out of his sense of duty to His creation or of His absolute love for it, because in the New Testament the cross answers all questions about God. Love is not an emotive experience; love is action.
Because of what He has done for me, I think I am one of His top dogs. You may think you’re a ragged old cat that still belongs in the barn or junkyard, but friend; you can join His family and be treated like a top dog.
Whether our blessing comes from His duty or devotion, the cross has shown us both. Stand at His feet and look up. The cross is His invitation for you to join His motley collection of beloved ones.