Except that Spike the dog, watching me drink Jasmine tea and eat toasted rye bread, is doing tricks. He gets up on his hind legs and spins. Sits behind me and barks. Jumps onto the desk by the window and lies down, looking at me in anticipation. Lying down is often enough to get a taste of what I'm eating.
No results? No compassion in my eyes? He leaps off the desk and throws his front paws on my legs. He's persistent, I'll give him that.
Now he's distracting me from the task at hand. Spike is cute. And I skipped our three-mile morning walk because I couldn't make it up the hill from house to the stop sign at the end of the street because of an early morning torture session at the XGym. (Oh yeah, it's that intense.)
I throw him the heel of bread. He crunches it with great satisfaction. "It worked! It worked! She fed me."
Sometimes when I pray, I feel like I'm doing Spike-tricks to get God's favor. Maybe he'll satisfy my wants if I am good. Maybe he'll finally intervene in this problem if I do a few extra deeds of kindness. If I keep praying the same prayer, maybe he'll finally take notice.
Oh oh... let's get one thing straight! Our life of faith in Christ is not built on repetition, rules, or getting it right. It's a relationship with a Master who knows what we need and how to build his Kingdom in good times and bad.
The other kind of religion, of begging and chores? That probably only gets us a taste of doggie heaven, with acknowledgment and a few treats from other people, if we're lucky.
And a PS - a friend calls, "Wanna go for a walk?" Of course we do. So Spikey gets that treat too.