When a Retriever Retrieves…

We just got our Golden Retriever, Marley, a new toy.  The plastic chew toy looks like a newspaper, and he’s just adorable when he carries it around the house.

His face lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw his new gift for the first time.  Now, when he comes in the house, it’s the first thing he goes for.  And every time he has it in his mouth, his smile takes over his whole face.

It’s a great picture for me of one important aspects of dog training.  You have to fulfill the animal’s needs, the dog’s needs and the breed’s needs to have a happy, balanced companion.  One of the biggest needs of a Golden Retriever is to… well… retrieve.  When he’s carrying something in his mouth, he’s the happiest dog on the planet.  It’s what he was made to do.

How about us humans?  What were we made to do?  What makes your face light up?  I think the Bible offers a good answer.

When Jesus was asked for the Cliff’s Notes version of the law, he said, “Love God and love your neighbor” (Luke 10:27).  “That pretty much sums it up,” Jesus would say.  “Do these two simple things, and you’ve got everything God requires covered.”  And if you give it a try, you’ll see he’s right.

Lashing out in rage at someone who cut you off in traffic feels good for a moment, but it’s not what you were created for.  Harboring animosity toward a conniving coworker seems justifiable, but it’s not what you were created for.  Talking down to others so you can feel better about yourself, well we’ve all done that at times, but it’s not what we were created for.  “Love,” Jesus would say.  “Love God, and love other people in your life.  And then your face will light up like Billy’s Golden retriever.”