Core scripture: “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.” (John 13:14)
Message: I must admit it. I didn’t like it much when we got Jack. He was an old foster dog, blind as a bat and deaf as a teenager with earbuds. When we took him in last fall, he needed a lot of extra care.
Jack couldn’t go in and out our dog door. He had to be lifted inside and outside to do his business, and he moved like a sloth. There were times he would just slowly wander in circles for no apparent reason. He crashed into anything and everything when he was on the move in our house, and we could always hear Jack whenever he would hit the spring door stops.
I complained a bit. He was too much work! Who would ever want to adopt this poor dog? I was always the first one up in the morning and the last to go to bed, which meant I spent countless hours scrubbing pee stains on our carpet and cleaning up his poop. He wore a diaper every night, and by the morning it was either soiled or completely off. I never found out how Jack got that diaper off in the middle of the night.
Winter came. Thank the Lord it only snowed a few times. I shoveled a little cul-de-sac for him each time and had to bundle up in my winter coat when we took him out. Come on, dude! Go pee! Stop wandering in circles! My interior monologue sometimes came out as angry whispers. It sounded cruel and merciless. But somewhere … somewhere God began to soften my heart.
I don’t remember the exact occasion. All I remember is taking Jack onto my lap and allowing him to cuddle up to me. He fell asleep right there, totally at peace, as I stroked his back. Poor guy. He couldn’t help it. It was weird though. I started to enjoy the little dude. I didn’t have to take him outside in the cold. I GOT to. The Lord was teaching me to serve, and I barely recognized it.
Our family gave him all the love he ever needed. We took turns snuggling him. We led him to the doggie pillows on our family room floor when he wandered aimlessly away. We picked him up off the slippery linoleum. We gave him eye drops and cream. We talked to him in cute baby voices—even though he couldn’t hear a word we said. We showed him unconditional love.
Last Sunday night we all went to bed. Jack was making these weird noises in the dark beneath his fluffy yellow blanket. My wife was up with him from midnight to 3:00 am. She tag teamed me, and I took him downstairs. Something was off. He wandered around like he was drunk, and his noises resembled that of a goat bleating.
Jack spent the entire day at the vet. Nobody knew how serious it was. The foster coordinator tried to spell it out for me on the phone, but I wasn’t buying it. Jack was going to pull through! But the following morning he had a seizure. And then another. It was time. His quality of life was … well … you know. Not the best.
Putting a dog down is never easy. We took turns holding Jack and kissing his little nose. I held him tight to my chest. There were a few tears as we tried to make his last moments as precious as they could be. Nobody wanted to lose him. The same dog that I once loathed had worked his way into my heart to stay. He went quietly and peacefully.
God is so creative when He teaches us how to serve. Sometimes it may not be what we initially want, but He is so good in giving us what we need. I challenge you to do the same. Seek out opportunities to serve. It could be volunteering to create the end-of-year video at your school, or it could be chaperoning the last school dance. Whatever it may be, give it all you have.
Challenge: Brainstorm different ways you can serve at your school and follow through with some volunteer opportunities. You never know whose life you will touch for the better.
Clint speaks: I thought it would be fun to promote Jack as my rap alias, Heavy D. Sadly, this video was created merely days before we had to put Jack down.
Scripture study: Read John 13:1-17 and discuss or journal about the following questions …
- Who was normally in charge of washing feet?
- How did Jesus model humility through washing his disciples’ feet?
- How did this act revolutionize the disciples’ thinking?
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for the opportunities He gives us to serve.
- Pray that you can serve with the right heart, giving glory to God.
- Pray for our family as we continue to adjust to life without our sweet foster dog, Jack.
Just for fun: Greetings confuse me. Are we fist-bumping now? Are handshakes still the norm? Do you ever go for the handshake right as the other person is going for the fist bump? Quarantine made life pretty confusing.
Prayer: Lord, You always know best in how we can serve. Help us serve others with humble hearts, modeling what Jesus did for us. Amen.
So sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you, Gwendolyn. I have to say it has been odd caring for only two dogs instead of three. I miss my cuddles with him for sure.