Another Life Lesson from the Dog
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Matthew 6:24
Once, when my family got home from several days away, we greeted our dog by each attempting to call him. The idea was, whomever he obeyed, was his true master, the one he loved. It was a little mean. He didn’t know what to do, as he frantically ran from one of us to the other, trying to obey and love all of us at once. He tried to prove whom he obeyed most, but because he tried obeying everyone, he failed miserably at obeying anyone.
As much as I loath to admit it, I’m a lot like the dog sometimes. I claim to follow Christ in theory, but in my daily practicality, I simply want to follow me. I know I should give to the poor, but I’ve got plans for my money. I know I should share more of my time with those in need, but I’ve got stuff I want to do. I want a loving marriage, but I also need to be right . . . all the time.
Most of us can identify with this. We are often torn between two wills. The problem – as Jesus identified it in today’s passage – is that we cannot pursue two opposites at the same time. We cannot exercise and eat right, while remaining on the couch eating junk food. We cannot be good spouses and parents while demanding that we always do everything our way. We cannot live in recovery while getting high and we cannot serve God while we pursue our own will. Jesus described the Christian life as one of denying self to follow him. Yet we continually attempt to live for ourselves while claiming to be disciples.
Christ said it’s simply impossible to do both. We will follow what we love the most and if we follow ourselves, we actually display hatred for God. Just like our dog couldn’t obey multiple masters at the same time, neither can we. If we truly want to live the life we were made for, we must pursue and obey the one who made us. If we desire faith, life, and recovery, we must daily do what it takes to abandon our path for God’s.