You can learn a lot by paying attention to your dog.  We have Monty, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  Monty is the best dog we’ve ever had.  He’s gentle, friendly, and rather clever.  Not like our last Cavalier, Abby, who, despite her huge cuteness, was dumber than a sack of hammers.  Yet for all his worthy attributes, Monty still has one weakness:  food. 

When Monty gets fixated on a food item, nothing else exists in the world.  He becomes obsessed with getting that food in his mouth and down his throat.  The sooner the better. 

In that way, Monty is a lot like the old version of me.  The old version was brought up in a Christian home where we normally prayed and gave thanks before eating a meal together.  The old version went to a Christian school were it was normal practice to pray before eating lunch to give thanks for the food.  But the old version, when he was by himself, was rather like Monty.  I was fixated on the gift, but I didn’t see the Giver.  In the words of Roman 1:21, I knew God, but I did not honour him as God or give thanks to him.  I wasn’t a Christian. 

After becoming a Christian, the Holy Spirit led me to repent of my thankless ways.  The normal practice became to give thanks for a meal, whether I was with my family or not.  Even when in a restaurant by myself or with other Christians, I saw the importance of thanking God, even if it hasn’t always been possible to pray at any length.

In a sense, it’s just obviously the Christian thing to do.  When you receive gifts, the right thing to do is to thank the giver.  God gives our daily bread, therefore we should thank him.  But this is also what we see our Saviour doing.  When he fed the four thousand in Mark 8, it explicitly says in verse 6 that he gave thanks for the food.  If we’re united to him, we should be doing the same.  If he’s our Master and we’re his disciples, then we should be following him.   Similarly, 1 Timothy 4:3 says that God created food “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

They say owners and dogs often resemble each other.  I know this refers to appearance and I think I’d be happy to resemble Monty in that way.  However, I certainly wouldn’t want to be compared to him with respect to his thankless fixation on food.  God didn’t create me or redeem me to be like him.  I was created and redeemed to be a thankful human being.  If we’re not being thankful, we’ve quite literally gone to the dogs.