I was traveling for work when I received the text message from my wife. “Daddy Please??!!” appeared on my phone’s screen, along with a photo of my daughters wearing big grins. As I glanced at the photo, I smiled and realized that I couldn’t say no to their request. In the photo, both my teenage daughters held small kittens.
The next few weeks brought the juggling of feline logistics as we worked out feeding schedules, litterbox locations, and introductions of the new family members to our two Australian shepherd dogs. The smallest kitten, Aloe, decided that she would serve in the role of “morning alarm clock,” although she could never get her timing right as 2 a.m. wake-up calls quickly became tedious. But how can you get mad at a cute little creature that sits on your chest loudly purring and kneading you with her tiny paws?
What’s struck me the most about our new occupants is the boundless energy that seems to burst from their furry little bodies. No matter the time of day, the patter of paws can be heard upon wooden floors of our house, thundering like a herd of small horses. And when they aren’t scampering about, the kittens spend most of their play time with a small piece of string, throwing it up in the air and pouncing on it again and again. Nothing seems to dampen their unbounding energy and love for life.
Observing our feline family members has caused me to reflect on the spiritual similarities between the kittens and their never-ending passion for life and our Christian journey. Often, as many of us observe new Christians experiencing the joy and passion of newly changed lives, we are put off by their boundless energy to share what we have already known for years.
I wonder how many times I’ve unintentionally acted negatively when approached by a new member wanting to share with me the truths that have transformed their lives? And taking it a step further, I wonder about my own “Christian energy.” Have I allowed myself to become spiritually complacent? Have I lost the enthusiasm that was as boundless as the energy of my furry family members?
Three of the Gospels share the story of young children that were brought forward for Jesus to bless. The disciples condemned those who came forward, but our Savior was quick in His rebuttal of them, saying “Suffer the little children come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14, KJV).
Jesus then went on to further clarify His point with “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (verse 15).
Maybe He was talking about their attitudes and love for life. What was perceived as a problem with “noisy children” by the disciples was, in fact, seen by Jesus as a blessing and a requirement to enter into salvation.
Full Grown, Not Grown Up
I continued to think about the kittens, and what would happen with them as they became full grown cats. What was once a playful creature often grows into a cranky beast that wants to just sleep and get fed.
Is this how my Christian life manifests itself as well?
Just as a kitten “loses its mind” over a simple piece of string, a young Christian is overjoyed when discovering a new Bible text that gives another glimpse of God’s love for His children. Have I lost this passion in my own Christian experience? Have I grown up and forgotten the things that once provided spiritual excitement and growth?
Tonight, I will sit on the floor of my house and play with the kittens, watching them bound back and forth—their eyes aglow with passion for the little things that bring them joy. String. A ball of paper. A shiny button. Anything new that catches their attention.
At the same time, I will pray to rediscover the things that once used to excite me at the beginning of my Christian journey. I pray that my passion for Christ will be like the desire of the little ones who bounced upon His knee on a warm sunny day in Israel.
— Dan Weber is the communication director of the North American Division.