Maybe you’ve heard of Cat ‘n Dog Theology. I’m not sure where it originates from, but I’ve heard it quoted from a number of people over the years. It says:
A dog may look at you and think, “You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me – You must be God!
But a cat looks at you and things, “You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me – I must be God!
The theology explains the way many of us behave. We think that God, the world, our prayers, our work, and everything else, revolves around us. We are like cats.
In every workshop we teach for DML, we ask people why Jesus came to earth. 99% of the time, the response is “to die for our sins.” Cat theology. John 12:27-28 tells us that Jesus’ primary purpose was to glorify the Father. Dying for our sins was one way in which He did that. It’s not about us. It’s about God. Jesus came to restore the glory of God that was lost in the Garden of Eden.
Over the years, we have asked many people why they work. The most common answers are to put food on the table, to stay busy, and for identity/self-esteem. Cat theology. These answers are all about me and what work does for me. Yet we have been created to work to bring glory to God. As image bearers, we are part of the work of restoring the glory of God which was lost in the Garden of Eden. We are to participate in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven (Shalom) on earth.
When we pray, we focus on what we need and want. We present our requests and move on before God has a chance to get a word in edgewise. Cat theology.
We get so caught up in naval gazing. Our flesh quickly wants to put ourselves at the center of the story.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a cat in dog’s clothing. I want to pretend that it’s all about God but really, under the surface, it’s all about me. I start the day wanting to act like a dog, but time and again, by the end of the day, I look back and seen that I’ve behaved like a cat.
Yet there is such joy, freedom, peace, and contentment when God is the center. And that’s the irony. When it’s all about me, I am petty, small, egocentric, impatient, easily annoyed and frustrated. When I lift my eyes from my naval, I am more content with a deeper joy. I am willing to suffer frustrations and annoyances because there is something bigger going on.
Because of this, I need daily reminders, even hourly, that it is all about the glory of God. Every day, I get to worship God by doing my work for His glory.
So I have a “work as worship” sticker on my phone. And on my laptop. And in my office. As with everything, we start to not see something that is familiar after a while, so I will need to change it up. I have been receiving some requests for these stickers and want to make the offer that if you would like me to mail some to you, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to get them to you (provided you are in a country where DML has a team!). We have them in English, French, and Spanish.
May we all continue to strive to be like dogs – understanding that this world exists, and we exist, for the glory of God. And that is a very good thing.
On Sunday, February 26, I leave for South Asia, where I will be working with six partners over the course of four weeks, returning at the end of March. Please pray for those who will be listening and learning on this trip, that it may be to the glory of God!