There she was, one of hundreds due to be euthanized the next day, a stray from the sweltering streets of El Paso, Texas. We showed up and chose her over all the others in the crowd. If she were aware of the situation, would she not have asked how she could repay us for saving her life? She owes us her life itself. Of course (if she were a thinking animal) we would want (even expect!) her to express her thankfulness appropriately.
But she’s not a human and has no clue how humans might show love or thankfulness – how could she have any clue how to respond?! If she had a reasoning brain like us, we might give her a list of tasks, prohibitions and required attitudes that would communicate the thankfulness and love she wanted to express. In our personal situation, our wonderful mutt happens to have these naturally. To us humans, infused with sin and selfishness, such an idea never even occurs.
So there we are, snatched from death row and allowed to live in the beautiful creation of our adoptive Father, cared for and loved deeply by Him, all by His choice and doing… And when given a list of tasks, prohibitions and required attitudes, we buck and complain, calling Him authoritarian and demanding, rather than thanking Him for going to such lengths to tell us how on Earth we might begin to love Him in response to all He’s done for us. Why is that?
Let’s change the question from what does God demand of me? to How can I respond to Him in a manner that expresses my love and appreciation? The question I ask makes all the difference.