Field Stone Cottage Blog

Monday, February 18, 2008

Even the Dogs

When our daughter was in her early teens and Charlie was also several years younger, she would often say "I wish I was a dog" upon observing how Charlie was petted and fussed over. I would respond, "No, you wish you were our dog." This exchange was repeated with some regularity in those years and I was reminded of it last week when studying the story of Jesus' interaction with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Here is the passage:

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
26He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Mindful of her great need of Jesus' mercy on behalf of her daughter, the woman is humbly content to be compared to a pet dog such as those kept by the wealthy Greeks at the time. And Jesus rewards her humble faith not only by healing her daughter but also with an accolade for that persistent, perceptive faith. She knew that the smallest crumbs from that Master were sufficient for her need.

In the conversation between my daughter and myself regarding her desire to be our dog, there is certainly an element of jealous teasing. But there is also a recognition of Charlie's (and her own) dependence on us to meet his needs and our willingness to do just that. And as all of us dog owner's know, our dogs are content to have us meet their needs--at least for the most part While every analogy breaks down, there is something I can learn from viewing myself in a similar position in relationship to my Master. I can humbly accept my overwhelming neediness and complete inability to care for myself as the Master can. I can recognize that crumbs from Him are better than anything I can provide for myself. And in Jesus' acknowledgment of the Canaanite woman's faith, I can see that faith without humility is not really faith at all. Or perhaps better said, it is faith in one's own abilities rather than His.

2 comments:

rosemary said...

Hi Dorothy,
Kim from Hiraeth sent me, and I can tell that she's done me a great favor! I look forward to reading you blog, so keep writing!

Dorothy said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Rosemary!