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July 18, 2011

            Benson is our friends pet Golden Retriever. We were entertained as we watched Benson pick up dropped keys and fallen dimes. He endeared himself to all with the most inviting gaze that begged a gentle scratch behind the ears. Our joy turned to amazement when Benson let himself in the house through the front door. Not the doggy door, the people door! This impressive feat was followed by his turning around and closing the door behind himself! 

            What struck me about Benson was not only the great training his family had given him, but his relentless joy at performing all these tasks. 

            I hope it is not too condescending to compare us to our pets, but Benson has a special lesson for us. All the relentless repetitions learning to distinguish car keys from TV remotes, learning how to open the door from one side and close it from the other did not create a spirit of despair but only increased Benson’s joy.

             We repeatedly practice Christian disciplines such as prayer, worship, and Bible reading to deepen our faith. When we practice these disciplines long enough we do not find boredom, but joy. Pursuing Christ through spiritual disciplines does not produce resentment, but intimacy. Spiritual depth requires us to repeatedly practice the fundamentals over an extended time. Even if the only reward is a final, ‘Well done,’ from the Master, it will be worth it all and the only emotion will be unmitigated joy.

Photo: Benson with his dedicated handler, Emily

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