This is Chewy.
He thinks he is bigger than he really is. Chewy is a Chiweenie, which is a Chihuahua and Dachshund mix and pours out his unconditional love to all. His bark is loud, his smile can be intimidating, but after you get to know him, he’s a bundle of mushy love.
Over the last 4 days, I have spent lots of time with Chewy. As I have spent hours upon hours discovering his quirks, his fears and his love, the Lord has also given me insight into why He has brought Chewy into our family at this point in time.
For almost the last decade, my family has been the proud owner of cats, black cats to be specific. Each of them (Shadow and Angel) have their unique character and show love in different ways. Regardless of their individuality, the fact that they are the same species and have many similarities remains true.
Both Shadow and Angel have worked hard to be friends by tolerating each other’s quirkiness, odd behaviors and personality differences. Now, we have added a puppy to the mix and this is where the lessons began.
When you have multiple species living under the same roof, understand, there will be some difficult times. In our case the times have not been so bad. The cats have had to learn that Chewy is here to stay and Chewy has to learn that cats don’t play like dogs. What I found interesting was the comparison to the Church today.
“The Church today” is comprised of many denominational and non-denominational churches. Yet, many times, individual churches decide to do ministry on their own, rather than with the support of other churches.
We hear excuses like, “We do things the way the Lord wants us to do it” or “What works for them doesn’t work for us” or “We’ve always done things this way. We don’t need the advice from anyone else.”
But is “the Church” supposed to operate this way? Are we supposed to work like an island, surrounded by water, not being involved with the main land? No matter how we look at “the Church”, we must understand that we are comprised of many different peoples, from many different languages, having many different cultures, with many different secondary beliefs. Unfortunately, many times, it is the secondary beliefs that divide us rather than unite us. Here is what I mean….
Shadow, Angel and now Chewy are unique in their own way. However, both cats and dog have a single and clear goal…to please their Daddy. Why? I chose them. None of them chose me. In Shadow’s case, she was a stray that we had compassion on. We decided to woo her until she trusted us and then when she desired to come in the house, we invited her in. Angel was found under a car. No one knows how she got there, but she was found and no one wanted her because she is completely black. I took her home, comforted her and cared for her. We could have sent her to a kennel for adoption, but instead made a conscience decision to keep her. Finally, I was desiring a dog, so I went out and looked at many different kinds of dogs. Ultimately, we chose Chewy and now he is a part of our family. The same is true for us as “the Church”.
First, regardless of our denominational or non-denominational ties, God chose us.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” – Ephesians 1:4 (NIV)
Do you realize that God chose you, BEFORE WE EVEN EXISTED? How awesome is that?! The Creator of all things made a conscience decision to choose you and I. And to boot, he did that even before He created everything. If that doesn’t get you excited, maybe the next point will.
Second, there are no denominations in heaven.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” – Revelation 7:9 (NIV)
GASP! No mention of denominations or individual churches. Unbelievable! One day, all will be revealed and our secondary issues and beliefs won’t matter anymore. Whether we believe in infant baptism or full emersion, whether pre-tribulation, post-tribulation or a-millennialism, it won’t matter. Whether we believe in speaking in tongues or not, it won’t matter. All of these secondary beliefs, which divide us, won’t matter one day. All that will matter is that we will be with our Daddy, together, worshipping Him, doing His will. We won’t care if we are Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals, Calvinist, Methodist or any other denomination you can think of. All nations, all tribes, all languages will be represented and what’s most exciting??? No one will be able to count us! Not only has God chosen us, but He chose so many of us, that no one can count how many He chose.
If we can look beyond our criticism, our judgements of denominations and churches and focus on the reason why God leaves us here after becoming Christians, maybe, just maybe, we can join forces and change the world for the Kingdom.
Just like Shadow, Angel and Chewy have to work together to please their Daddy, so too, we must all work together to bring the Gospel to the nations. Our purpose is clear, to share the Gospel, by sharing our lives with others, serving others (even when they don’t appreciate it) and leading them to the Cross.
Imagine what the world would look like if we decided to put away our differences, and focus on our mission. We need to be that positive influence on the world today. There are too many divisions, too many differences, too many unforgiving people. This is our time to show the world, how Jesus loves them. This is our time to show the world that people from every nation, language and tribe can work together and worship together for the Kingdom’s purpose of leading others to Christ.
We can be better together. Let’s work out our differences and change the world in the process.
God bless and encourage someone today.