Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Devotion 11.4.15

How and why are dogs faithful to their owners?  Dogs become very attached, and we become attached to them.  Bill Murray does a great routine in the movie "Stripes" in which he delivers a speech to motivate the men in his platoon.  He likens Americans to the lovable "mutt."  "Our forefathers were kicked out of every country they lived in and came here to live," he proclaims. "We are the world's mutts, but we all know the mutt is lovable and faithful, loyal," he continues, "Who cried when 'Old Yeller' died? C'mon...who cried?"  He goes on from there (you can YouTube "Bill Murray Stripes Speech" if you would like to watch it).

So, faithfulness from an animal, yet my observation is dog's do not love unconditionally.  You have to work at it to gain their trust, loyalty, faithfulness, love. So, why then are people faithful to one another?  Is it conditional?  It is out of love and respect or does someone have to earn that?

We find Ruth to be very faithful to Naomi.  She returns to Naomi's homeland of Israel with her to the town of Bethlehem after committing to her in a beautiful speech ("Where you go I will go.... Ruth 1:16 - 19).  After settling in Bethlehem, Ruth then seeks to find work that will provide for Naomi. "Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, 'Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.' And she (Naomi) said to her, 'Go, my daughter.'"  (2:2) Ruth was looking for food and favor, so she might gain work and support she and Naomi.  We don't know the cause of such deep devotion and faithfulness between Ruth and Naomi, but we know it exists.

What of people we claim to be faithful to?  Our loved ones - wives, children, family, friends, our fellow believers in the body of Christ, and our neighbors, as Christ defined them?  Do we dispense our love with conditions attached or do we give unconditionally?  The Greek word for such love is "agape" or a love of self-sacrifice.  John 3:16 states it succinctly, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son to die for us."

God loves us unconditionally, as Ruth did Naomi.  We see no strings attached.  What merit do we have to earn to gain God's favor?  Is it really as simple as belief in the sacrificial atonement that His Son gave by dying on the cross and the resurrection?  Yes, it is that simple.  Pray that we can share that same unconditional love with others.

Hope Men's Ministry

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