I’m guilty of not washing my car as often as I should. Maybe it’s because I regard vehicles as transportation and not a stylish reflection of who I am. In the northeastern United States we use salt on the roads in the winter. So, after ten to twelve years of ownership, my cars invariably show signs of rust. At this point it’s a little late in the game to be putting more effort into washing my car.
I want to be one of those people who invests their time and energy into imperishable things like relationships. I know this will require regular housecleaning to keep my heart from forming rust-bearing thoughts that can corrode the relationships I hold dear.
“Store your treasure in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not bread in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:20-21 NLT
Many of us take for granted the trustworthiness provided in relationships. Yet, so many innocent lives have been abused, cheated or betrayed by a loved one. Make it your purpose in life to be a trustworthy relative, parent, spouse, sibling or friend.
The word trustworthy has been rattling around in my head for some time now. Maybe it’s because so many untrustworthy individuals have managed to dominate the news. I produced a series of pictorial posts to share some of my thoughts on the word. Here is the first one.
Only human. This quote accurately portrays humans as imperfect beings vulnerable to failure. As we travel through life, it is clear that some of these human failures can be devastating. Thankfully, relationships we have made with others as we journey provide the necessary framework needed to make forgiveness and restoration possible. In matters with eternal consequences, it is a personal relationship with God, not a membership in religious institution that provides authentic hope for forgiveness and restoration of the human soul.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT
As I was researching material for my book, I found myself turning to my Bible to see how dogs were portrayed in scripture. In the book of Genesis all of creation was declared “good” by God. Then, after the flood of Noah’s day dogs fell victim to their own bad and unacceptable behavior. Because of this dogs assumed a deplorable identity in scripture.
But yet dogs of today are highly valued, loved and esteemed. What has caused this change? It is my view that mankind’s relationship with dogs had a “redeeming” effect on them. Today, our beloved pets are committed to the way of love.
When I see how dogs have responded to man’s love and affection, and consider my use of the word “redeemed,” I find myself reflecting on my own redemption and how I have responded to God’s love and affection. Am I committed to the way of love? Is my relationship with God such that I find it difficult to live without Him?
I am working on another chapter in my upcoming book. This chapter is going to be called, “First,” given the fact that my dog, Lucky, experienced many firsts as a puppy. When I consider the word “first,” my mind wants to take me to so many different places. Consider these possibilities of the word and see where your mind takes you:
Doing something for the first time. A phrase also comes to mind, “there’s a first time for everything.”
The lowest item of significance in a game or structured activity such as first base in baseball (you can’t score without advancing past 1st base).
First prize, besting all others in a given event or activity.
First day of a each new month, a renewing process that propels us through the calendar year.
A word associated with the letter “A” or the number “1.” Is One the loneliest number? (a Three Dog Night song)
The beginning or first task required in sequential tasks. I’ve been told many times, “Do this first!” or “First things first!”
Favorite person or thing, “numeral uno!” or BFF (best friend forever).
Prioritizing a person, relationship or time at the expense of all others. Remembering one’s wedding vows or recounting a salvation experience.
As my dog aged to adulthood, we grew closer together because of the many experiences we shared. I became his numeral uno, his first priority. He ultimately spent hours waiting for me to come home from work just so we could share a few minutes doing one of his favorite activities.
In my reflections, which I include in the book after each chapter, I observed Lucky’s dedication and devotion to me and it caused me to consider my own priorities in life. What am I doing to prioritize the important people in my life, especially the God I serve?