by Kevin Burton
I have two cats. I have one heart.
The cats have been with us about five months now. Some patterns have emerged in the ways they interact with my wife and me.
We feed them and provide them with comfort and amusement. We protect them from harm of all sorts, including from each other when need be.
There is a spot by the sliding doors that lead to the deck, where the sun shines through in the afternoon. Both cats enjoy luxuriating in that spot and will lie there in proximity to each other without rancor.
We keep their environment clean-ish.
I have one cat, Ronnie, who greets me loudly at least five days out of seven, the instant I emerge from the bedroom.
Meow, meow, meow and then she begins trying to herd me toward her food bowl. Same routine when I come home from work.
She licks my hand sometimes, not so much from affection I think, than for the salt. She doesn’t come around so much when she’s not hungry.
I have one cat, Gabbie, who seems to love me. She often wants to spend time with me and even gets annoyed when I don’t make time for her. She will usually sit on my lap for as long as I will sit still.
She will ask for food also when she is hungry and I have not been as prompt as I should have with the feeding.
Many times she comes to look for me in my office after she has had dinner. Is she thanking me? Not sure.
She gets on her back legs and takes her two front paws and hits my legs until I lift her up.
I don’t try to favor one cat over the other. Ronnie is physically bigger, so she ends up with a little more food. They drink from the same water dish.
Given all I have said, over time, will there not be a difference in the quality of the relationship with the two cats?
The cats have no spiritual capacity. They are four-footed beasts. But they are teaching me a spiritual lesson.
What is my motive for drawing near to God? Am I showing up just when I need something? Do I ever take time just to enjoy fellowship and company with Him?
God knows the heart, he knows the difference. Jesus told the truth of it after he had fed the multitude with loaves and fishes.
“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.’” (John 6:26 NKJV).
God is not a santa or some celestial vending machine. He wants to spend time with us personally.
“All relationships take time. A relationship with God, while unlike other relationships in many ways, still follows the rules of other relationships,” reads a passage on www.gotquestions.org.
“The Bible is filled with comparisons to help us. For example, Christ is depicted as the bridegroom, and the Church is depicted as the bride. Marriage is two joining their lives as one (Gen. 2:24). Such intimacy involves time spent alone with one another.”
“Another relationship is that of father and child. Close parental relationships are those in which children and parents have special “alone time” together. Spending time alone with a loved one provides the opportunity to truly come to know that person,” the passage reads.
“Spending time alone with God is no different. When we’re alone with God, we draw closer to Him and get to know Him in a different way than we do in group settings.”
God desires “alone time” with us. He wants a personal relationship with us. He created us as individuals, “knitting” us in the womb (Psalm 139:13). God knows the intimate details of our lives, such as the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). He knows the sparrows individually, and “you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29, 31), the passage reads.
“When we desire to know God intimately, we will seek Him early (Psalm 63:1) and spend time with Him. We will be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to His voice (Luke 10:39). We will hunger and thirst for righteousness, and we will be filled (Matt. 5:6).
So maybe my cat Ronnie needs to clean up her act. Maybe I need to clean up mine.