I just got back from shopping with my wife. It was Toni’s birthday and I decided during the last year that instead of the usual birthday presents, an evening out or the planned surprise we would do something different. So, instead of planning something or buying a present I simply took her to the mall and carried her shopping bags. Now, I did not do this because I forgot to plan or because I am getting lazy after 29 years of being with her on her birthday. This was an actual plan that required me not to plan. I think it worked! If you see her in the next week or so you can ask her if she thought it worked.
While we were shopping I noticed three things that I would like to mention quickly.
First, have you ever seen the little stores set up in the mall that sell treats and snacks for your dog? I have walked by it many, many times. Today when we walked by and I saw the cute little treats, some having been dipped in chocolate (or, so it appeared), I thought, “Do dogs even care? Do dogs even know?” I do not think a dog thinks about how cute or interesting a doggy treat is or even if it is shaped like a bone (which it really isn’t since a dog biscuit doesn’t actually look like anything a dog would recognize as a bone but is merely shaped into what we have come to except as a characterization of a bone.) I know from past experience that when I have given a dog a tasty piece of left over steak or even a piece of dried bread, they chomp it and swallow it fast. They don’t savor the flavor. They barely chew it. A dog eats. That is what a dog does. But we insert our perspective on the dog. It is easier for us to understand our dog if we allow ourselves to believe that the dog thinks like we think. It is easier to have a relationship with a dog if we imagine he thinks like we think. We assume that during the Christmas season our dog would like the Santa shaped dog biscuit just like they would prefer the green biscuit around St. Patrick’s Day. (As you may know, dogs don’t see color they way we do. For example, dogs see blue-green as white. Green, yellow and orange all look alike to dogs.)
The point: If we find it more comfortable to interact with dogs by assuming they think like we think, taste food the way we taste it and see color the way we see it then it is very likely that we also find it more comfortable to interact with God the same way. We find it easier to imagine that God agrees with what we think, likes the things that we like and sees sin in the same light that we see it. This is wrong. A man and a dog perceive things differently just like man and God perceive things differently.
The second thing I want to mention is the $1,000,000,000 bill Toni saw laying by the cash register at a clothing store in the mall. Toni saw it first and asked the clerk what it was? (Everyone knows that a $1,000,000,000 bill shouldn’t be left lying outside the cash drawer.) When Toni picked up the $1,000,000,000 bill I could see it had a picture of Charles Spurgeon on it. Everyone was surprised that I knew who was on the $1,000,000,000 bill. When we looked closer at the portrait it had in tiny little letters “Spurgeon” and the text on the bill explained the way of salvation. The clerk said that every Sunday someone leaves a $1,000,000,000 bill in their store. Apparently some church or some Christian was bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to the mall with false $1,000,000,000 bills.
The third and final thing I saw was a bumper sticker in the parking lot the said “My Boston terrier is smarter than your honor roll student.” I instantly found myself evaluating the bumper sticker with three personal thoughts:
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car.
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog.
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog so I could insult you concerning your child.
I walked into the store thinking how pointless that bumper sticker is.
So this is what I thought about while I carried shopping bags around this afternoon. Toni and I had a good time. She enjoyed her birthday and I thought about how we elevate dogs to our level while we devaluate God, how we use false money to spread truth and why we feel the need to insult others with pointless bumper stickers. I might take her shopping for her Christmas present in December.