Friday, March 6, 2009

Stray Dogs at the King's Table

Scripture: 2 Samuel 9: 8-13 MSG

I live quite a ways out in the country and have had a few experiences over the years with people dropping off unwanted animals on our road. One I remember in particular was an Old English Bulldog that was dropped off and was wandering around our property. He looked pretty calm, mainly because I think he was older than dirt, and he let me come up to him. As I got closer, I could see he was in terrible shape. He had scars and scabs over most of his body, his ear was torn, and he was wearing one of those inhumane agitation collars that have sharp studs on the inside of it. Clearly this dog had been used for fighting and was now no longer useful, so he had been dumped.
As I sat down next to him, he came and put his head on my lap and just groaned. I was heartbroken for this dog, because clearly he was just an old sweetie. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was about done. I just sat there, talking and petting him for a while. Eventually, I had to call the animal shelter who came and got him and humanely put him to sleep. As the officer was leading him toward the truck, the dog stopped, turned and looked at me for just a moment, almost as if to say thank you for that one last act of kindness. I'll never forget it.
I would dare to say that most unwanted or stray animals meet with harsher circumstances than that old bulldog did. Most get chased off the property or kicked to the curb or taken on a one way ride, or worse. (The picture you see is of our dog Tanner who we rescued from a shelter. As a puppy he had been thrown from a moving car and broke his leg.)
Unfortunately, unwanted or "stray" people often are treated much the same. Those who live on the fringes of our society, the poor, the elderly, the mentally challenged, and those who have been deemed as having outlived their usefulness, are often isolated, ignored, and mistreated. I fear, given the downward spiral our society is in, this treatment will only intensify.
That's why it is so important to understand 2 Samuel 9. Picture King David sitting inside his lavish throne room, with that imposing crown on his head, with rugged features that have seen many battles, facing Mephibosheth, who was very much a "stray dog" of his day, and telling him that from now on you will be taking all your meals at the king's table.
One day, all Christ-followers will be sharing a banquet at the King's table regardless of the station they held in life. Those who were rich will be feasting beside those who were beggars, and those who were well known will dine with "the least of these."
Why can't we have a little of that right now? Is it because as a people we chase the unwanted off of our property rather than caring for them? Is it because we think we are really something if we send a check in the mail to a charity but never get our hands dirty by going and helping out? I believe it is that and more. Much more.
Those who are struggling need not be. Those who are hurting should be helped. Those who are destitute should be lifted up. Don't wait for some government program to do it. Don't wait for your church or your neighbor to do it. You need to do it. I need to do it.

It's Like Red Bull For The Soul!

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