Our dog, Captain, is standing beside me with his toes stretched up onto the edge of the dining room table. He wants a bite of the crab salad and crackers that I am snacking on, but I keep pushing him down and scolding, “No!” Grabbing hold of his collar, I reinforce my command. He grimaces, huffs, and then walks around my chair to try a different angle.
We have had Captain for nearly a year, and he often reminds me of my second son, Amos. Amos and Captain both don’t believe in asking permission but in offering an apology after the fact. Both are very energetic and easily distracted by bugs and things along the side of the road. Amos is very tenacious when challenged, and Captain is extremely persistent in trying to solve a challenge as well. In Amos’s case it means discovering new ways to complete an art or writing assignment, for Captain it means discovering another way to pull the chain out of the ground so he can chase a chicken.
Both dog and boy are cuddly, wanting petting and hugs at all times. Both enjoy the outdoors, being with friends, and eating a good steak, though Captain only gets the bones.
But that is the difference. Amos gets the steak. Amos is allowed to share my crab salad and crackers. Amos is my son. He can sit on the couch, even lie in my bed. Amos can get a snack whenever he wants. He calls me “Mom”. He belongs in the family. He is loved beyond measure.
No matter what happens to Captain, he will never be allowed on the couch, to eat the whole steak, or to sit at the table with the rest of the family. He is a dog, not a son.
God didn’t choose us to be his pets. He doesn’t keep us on a leash, feed us on the floor, or push us away from the couch. God welcomes us as his children, well-loved and well-cared for, petted, hugged, and very much cherished.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12