Come into my bedroom on a weekend morning, and you will see two guaranteed things. One is me, sleeping at the top of the bed, pillows piled against the headboard, built with shelves for holding lights, alarm clocks, books, and of course the jar of Vicks Vapo-Rub. The other is Scrappy's head sticking out of the covers at my feet. Why is it always like this? Because the nature of man is to put himself at the top, near the things he has built. At the point of control, as it were. The dog's instinct is to sleep at his master's feet.
Today Pastor Jeremiah talked about a man who wrote a book about winning in business. Apparently, he had opened the end of the book for questions, and one person asked if he thought he was going to heaven. Paraphrasing what the Pastor quoted, the man's answer ran, if caring about others, helping my fellow man, and living life with all I've got earns you points, I have a shot. I have a hope.
It doesn't. Though I have heard this argument many times, the answer is still the same. There is a black and white line for heaven. It started when Adam and Eve, with their perfect bodies, everything they could want, and daily fellowship with God, failed. Therefore, all have sinned, and thus fallen short of what is needed to stand before a totally Holy God. The other side of the line is faith in Him who died for us. But man, lying with his head against the headboard, doesn't recognize that. He relies on what he himself can do. He has the light, the shelves, the Vapo-Rub. What does he need God for?
The dog, however, knows that his life is in his master's hand. He needs his master to feed him. To give him shelter. To let him out. For the good things, like treats, playing, and going for walks. He even needs him to lift up the covers in the middle of the night so he can climb underneath and lay at his feet. He realizes this, and accepts it. Not with resentment, but with love. With dependence. With joy at his master's approach and comfort at his side. He never says to himself, "If my master was good, he would allow me to come and go as I please." He never says, "I'm the one who walks out through the door, I consume the food, I decide on the toy, therefore my master doesn't really exist." He just lays at those feet every night and thinks life is good. And it is. Because he knows as long as he stays at those feet, he'll be provided for. He'll be rewarded- even sometimes when he doesn't deserve it.
So, am I going to switch ends of the bed? Of course not. But if I did, Scrappy would be able to go up and lay on the pillows. Would he? In a second, trust me. I've found him on the pillows after 2 AM bathroom trips many times. Now Jesus? He DID switch ends... He came to earth as man, that we might gain heaven. He opened the way for we dogs to sleep on the pillows.
One more thing I notice. When Scrappy was young, he would wake at first light, come up to my head, rubbing, loving licking, trying to get me to get up. Now that he's an "old man", he's more likely to wait until I move to come out from under his warm covers. In that, I take after him. I spend a lot of time waiting for God to move before I do. I don't get near as excited for each new day. And yet, once I do move, I still expect to be "let out", to "be fed", to "go for a walk". Scrappy still rubs, licks, loves, but usually it's when he's trying to speed up the process of getting all these things. It occurs to me that someone needs to re-learn how to wake up properly. And it ain't the dog.