I took my dog to a her first obedience training class last night. It was the first time I have ever gone to one of these - I grew up with Engligh Springer Spaniels and none of our dogs really needed any training. We mostly just tripped over them. We adopted a Weimeraner (the gray dogs that get photographed in people's clothing) named Darla late last year and she's a bit more energetic that any dog I've ever owned, hence the obedience training. That and she doesn't come when she's called, is scared of her own shadow and generally doesn't listen to anything we say.
So I'm standing around a padded room with a bunch of dogs and their owners trying to get Darla to sit. She seemed really confused and terrfied by the whole thing. We didn't really do very good at it and they were already working on "down" while I was still trying to get her to sit. She didn't even really care about the treats I was trying to bribe her with. I felt like I was the one being trained - not her.
And that got me thinking about about our relationship with God. Sometimes we Christians can begin to act like trained dogs. We are so busy "doing" all of the things that we think God wants from us - praying, worshipping, reading the Bible, etc. - that we forget God just wants us to be with Him. He's not out to have us jump through some hoop or do some trick to say "Look what I got her to do." and pop a treat in our mouths for doing all those things. Nope, He's in this because He loves us, He wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. Sometimes we do get rewarded. He loves to bless His children. But other times I think He wants knowing Him to be our reward.
So the next time you find yourself "doing" something for God, ask yourself why. Are you doing it because you just want to love on Him, or are you doing it hoping for that reward to pop in your mouth? I know I've been guilty of thinking that if I want God to bless me I have to do all sorts of things to earn His blessing. But it just doesn't work that way.
And I for one, am really glad it doesn't. It's awfully nice to know that even if I mess everything up - He's still going to love me - and He's never going to let me go.
Now if only I could get Darla to actually sit.