When it comes to choosing the right pet, I hands down choose cats over dogs. I like the feel of their small, soft bodies on my lap, their purr, and the way they affectionately brush up against your legs. They are like built-in decorative pieces, the way they climb up shelving and strike their regal poses. Their playful curiosity is preciously amusing. Their level of independence, convenient. Most of all, I appreciate that I don’t need to take them out for potty-breaks and I’m free from the need for daily walks. A house cat is perfectly content to be a house cat! At least, that’s what I thought.
Rosie was a little barn kitten, chosen out of about a dozen other adorable kittens because when we picked her up, she promptly snuggled into our arms and fell asleep. We wanted a calm, snuggly cat. When we brought her home, however, we quickly discovered that her barn instincts came with her. Her greatest joy was to stalk my two daughters. She would crouch down until one of them passed behind the loveseat. That is when Rosie would sprint up the loveseat, leap off the back and fly through the air towards my children with her four legs spread, claws out and teeth ready for the kill. This wasn’t mean-spirited; she simply had spunk. Nonetheless, this was just one of many “disagreements” that began between Rosie and myself. She was a persistent kitty, but I was steadfast and determined.
Fast-forward a couple years and Rosie is a calm and sociable cat. Most of her bad habits have been broken and I wouldn’t have any complaints . . . if it weren’t for that meow. Long, low, mournful “mer-o-o-o-oww” . . . gazing longingly at the door and “mer-o-o-o-oww!” If we had a country home, I would not hesitate to let her out – boot her out! However, I simply don’t trust letting her out the door without constant supervision, and I refuse to be at the beck-and-call of a fussy feline!
This week as our family gathered by the door to set out for a walk, she began her meow. “Maybe we should bring Rosie with us!” someone chimed in. Bring her with? Ever tried taking a cat for a walk? We have! I had envisioned Rosie at the end of her pink Hello Kitty leash and harness, walking joyfully alongside us. Instead, she had plopped immediately upon the sidewalk, rolled around, then sat lazily refusing to acknowledge any of our urgings. I quickly learned that you don’t walk a cat, you drag a cat. Yet, I heard my children’s pleadings to bring her, and there sat Rosie, meowing and looking at me with those big, sad eyes . . . Decisions, decisions. “I have an idea,” I finally said. My fussy feline had won me over.
It must have been quite the sight, our family walking down the path, happily pushing a baby stroller with a cat inside. Part of me felt that I’d stepped far over the doting-pet-owner-line. Part of me was thinking, “This is absolutely ridiculous! What are people going to think? I must look like a FOOL!” The other part of me argued that it doesn’t matter what people think. My children were loving every minute of this kitty-accompanied-walk, and that is priceless. And why not make one of God’s creatures a little happier as well? It was resolved then: I guess I don’t mind looking like a fool. As it turns out, cat-strollers may be a pretty good idea.
This article isn’t really about my cat. I’m just trying to learn a lesson from the little things in life. This article is about choosing whom we want to please. It’s about standing up against the fear of people’s opinions. Ultimately, it’s about standing up for God and choosing to please Him regardless of what popular reputation might be sacrificed in the meantime. If I’m going to look like a fool, I want to know I’m doing it for the right reasons.
I’ve often experienced the prompting to do or say something that I know would please God, yet displease others. When I first “entered” the life of a Christian, it was mostly what I felt I should not do – and that didn’t exactly make me the life of the party, at least not the type of party to which I had been associated. I’ve abstained from things, stepped out into things, and proclaimed things for which the world may call me foolish. I care not. I’m in good company. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “We are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10).
Please don’t misinterpret my encouragement as one of disrespecting people by not caring what they think. Our call is to love others. Our greater call, however, is to love God (Matthew 22:38) and to do all things as unto the Lord and not unto men (Colossians 3:23).
Though the preaching of the gospel is considered foolishness to those who don’t believe (1 Corinthians 1:18), God in turn says something very different. As it states in Psalm 14:1, “A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Thus, in contrast it is wise to learn from Peter and John’s example when they asked, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to Him? You be the judges! . . . We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 4:19, 5:29). And it is all the wiser to consider Jesus’ question: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36).
It may seem easy in theory choosing to please God more than pleasing others. In practice, however, it can be extremely difficult. When God created us, He did so to take delight in us. Translation: we are created to receive love. We’re simply not “built” to receive disapproval. Yet, as with all things we should recognize that the ultimate and only source of fulfillment is in God. Even if you were to find the “perfect” person who could know your needs before you do, who would never hurt you, never fail you, always affirm your value with love and encouragement regardless of how you act . . . do you know any person who can do this? I don’t. But I know Christ who does.
Why should I base my decisions upon and try to impress people who don’t even know me – or if they do, may not even like me? Should I work for the temporal or should I dedicate my work unto the Eternal? Proverbs 29:25 states that the “Fear of man will prove to be a snare . . .” I don’t want to be ensnared by the fear that others may call me a fool. I’d rather avoid standing before God and hear Him call me one. In other words, if I must choose which kind of fool I’m going to be, I choose to be one for Christ.
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