I never before considered that buying dog food would be a study of the “human condition”. Yesterday it was one such lesson; I was in the checkout line purchasing a bag of “premium” dog chow. I had initially been given a tip about this brand from another dog owner via social media. As it turns out, this quality food for our dogs has several health benefits that I have observed during the last couple months. I have some interest in seeking recognition for this additional expense, but it defeats the example that I have been following in Jesus. Doing something positive and uplifting for someone or something, is not altruistic when seeking recognition for that activity. The person who is humble and strives to be like Christ, will perform acts of generosity or kindness without seeking attention.
Standing in line for several minutes behind this young-ish woman, I overheard her conversation with the clerk as she made a series of purchases. Apparently, she was buying toys and food for a dog-rescue or fostering group. I made an approving comment. Then she said that she was now “only” donating to animals such as dog rescues these days. She had donated to some children or a foster child group and “never got even so much as a thank you”, but instead got a “request” for other items from the children. And this so embittered her that she henceforth would only donate to animals that were “unconditionally loving”. Without truly seeking to understand what was being expressed, that woman missed what was probably was perhaps poorly expressed heartfelt gratitude. On the basis of singular incidents, if God treated us as our ambivalence and willful misconduct deserves, all of humanity would be looking in vain to justify themselves for random ‘works’ to justify themselves at Judgement.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
I’d never consider myself a people person, and I certainly find bitterness hard to let go of, but to dislike children for wanting more of a good thing seems odd. I mean, we all desire more, adults are just capable of doing it with more autonomy (they can go out and work for more money, which can buy them more “toys etc.). Giving unconditional love can be rewarding or heartbreaking, but opening yourself up to the experience will teach you more and offer you more than closing yourself off ever will. In truth, this all is just saying I agree with you! The young lady was missing out, because while she may not have experienced what she would consider “true gratitude” she did receive the knowledge that she had been giving without expectation of return–that said, it seems like she was expecting something in return so maybe it isn’t as satisfying that way. Still, good for her for still donating to something.
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Thank you for your insight! I am working through my own dose of bitter tonight. But everything in life can be grist for the writing mill. And, yes, giving to those animals is unconditionally loving. And in turn, animals can teach us the same virtue.