You might know Bea already – she’s a regular on my facebook and instagram 🙂 No pretense: I never intended to love a dog, but I sure love this one!
Bea does lots of funny things – she has a BIG personality packed into her little 5-pound body. One of her habits is the way she greets us after we have been gone for a while: she has to have something in her mouth before she can come to us. I don’t know why – as soon as we walk in the door and release her from her crate, she runs to find a bone or a toy before she lets us pick her up and love on her. As she likes to hide her bones all over, she can’t always find one quick enough for a greeting – in that case, she’ll get a mouthful of dog food from her bowl and them come running for us. I sometimes kind of wonder if she is bringing a little offering of sorts.
When the babies came home for Christmas break, I noticed something: I was constantly finding pieces of dog food under their bedroom doors, just as far as Bea could poke it under there.
I know its hard to tell what you are looking at here: that’s the hallway tile on bottom, the bedroom carpet in the middle with the piece of dog food, and that’s the bottom of the closed door on top. I get up WAY earlier than anybody in the house (even Bea), and I leave my bedroom door open so she can come find me when she wakes up. I wonder if she is trying to visit the babies when she wakes up, taking a gift to see if they’ll let her in. It’s completely silly to try to imagine what she is thinking and utterly ridiculous to attach a response or emotion to her actions (she’s a dog for crying out loud), but I do it anyway!
If I’m allowed to attach an emotion/reason for her action (just for the sake of this silly story!), maybe its because she recognizes that it’s because of us she has a home and toys and bones and all she needs. She wants to give something back. My heart is touched by her offering and I’m excited to see her too. I don’t feel impatient as she looks for her bone – I smile and wait for her.
This morning, Bea got me thinking about bringing gifts. Generally, we give a gift out of love, remembrance or appreciation. One of the gifts we can bring to the Lord is our gratitude and praise. One of my former pastors used to say that the “password” to enter God’s presence was gratefulness and praise. I’m sure you’ve heard something similar. Psalm 100:4 is a familiar favorite:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name”
Exodus 23:15 is another one about bringing an offering:
“none shall appear before Me empty”
Give me a little grace on the Exodus one, okay? It’s not exactly the intended context, but sometimes when I think of this verse, I think about all that God has done for us, all His generosity, all the things that I can think of, and all the things I can’t think of because He is so big and so far beyond my comprehension. To come before Him with nothing seems ungrateful somehow – He has done so much, how can I offer a response of utter emptiness? If all I have is a praise or a word of gratefulness, that’s still something. When the Lord draws me into His presence, I want my first response to be praise – I want to bring Him a gift.
Like little miss Bea scrambles for a bone or some sort of offering, let’s do the same for our Heavenly Father, as He is the Source of everything we need. At every opportunity, thank Him. Father, thank you for breath! Thank You for health! Thank You for air conditioning! (that’s not silly – I really am grateful for AC!) Thank You for provision! Thank You for guiding my children! Thank You for friendships! Thank You for every good and perfect gift! Thank You for mercies, new every day! Nothing is too small to mention, nothing too insignificant. God is our Source of all – it’s right for us to recognize Him as such. I believe God’s heart is touched by our offerings of gratitude and He loves us so. He doesn’t feel impatient as we search for words – I imagine he smiles and waits.
I know that there are hard days, difficult times when we might not feel grateful – that’s just a feeling. Push on through it and be grateful anyway! Being quick with gratitude or praise every day, that’s a treasure!
Praying you have lots to be grateful for today – take a moment to thank God!