This year we adopted a young Border Collie. I know very little about Bailey’s life before she became ours. The girl we got her from said Bailey had been abused, kept chained away from food and water, but didn’t go into detail. Other than to say, Bailey hated men, which apparently didn’t apply to the male’s in our household.
The poor dog was skin and bones, and covered with fleas and ticks, but right away she bonded with my husband and our three boys. After only a few weeks of devouring puppy chow, her coat lengthened and become soft and shiny. At first, she was reserved and tired but now when she greets us her backend dances and her eyes are bright. She’s always up for a walk, cuddle, or game of fetch, or maybe I should say keep away. She hasn’t quite mastered the returning part.
However, she still chews on sticks even when bones are offered. She will not even chomp a dog biscuit! She always takes them outside and buries them. It’s so sad to watch her excitement at getting the dog treat in her mouth morph into the serious determined dog marching out the dogdoor on a mission to stash her food.
Maybe she’s saving up for the day when we stop providing for her? When things get tough again and she has to fend for herself.
Even more heartbreaking, someday she may dig up one of those biscuits and find nothing but mush. Her attempt to care for herself will prove futile. Then will she see? Will she finally rely on us? Trust me?
It made me think about how we do that, too. If you were raised without much you will be more likely to horde. You may think of those houses so overfilled with stuff that you can hardly walk through, but what I’m talking about is far more common and less obvious.
“I can’t let go of that. I might need it someday.” What happens if you have to go without a coat? Remember that year that none fit? Now you have twelve and have to keep them all.
It reminds me of Achan in Joshua chapter 7. He kept the spoils from battle hidden in his tent. Safe and sound away from the other Israelites. I wonder if he thought of it as an insurance policy in case God didn’t follow through with his promises? His family would still be fine. If God did decide to bless them then great. Achan could just leave his stash alone and no one would know.
Maybe Ananias and Sapphira felt the same way? In Acts 5 we learn the couple lied about their stash assuming no one would know.
But God knew. He saw their lack of faith and defiance.
Faith and obedience are important to God.
Hebrews 11 says without faith it’s impossible to please God. That’s right, all your righteous acts are meaningless to save you. Filthy rags, in fact. We can never earn our own salvation. Thankfully Jesus has made a way for us. “By grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Now when I’m tempted to hold onto something I think about sweet Bailey and her biscuits, I offer up a prayer asking God to give my stuff a home where it’s needed, and I let it go knowing God will provide if I need it again someday. During those difficult times, when I want to hold tight, I ask God to increase my faith and my trust in Him to provide. That’s when I usually laugh and realize I’m holding onto something as silly as a mushy dog biscuit.
What bones are you holding tight? What stash are you keeping only to have it disintegrate in the face of God’s gifts?