Meet Monty. No, he’s not my puppy–I wish. He belongs to some good friends of mine. I mean look at him; he’s a beautiful dog who loves to chew, play, and eat. He’s also still learning that not everything is a chew toy, and that it’s not okay to pee on the floor when someone doesn’t want to play with you.
Monty also enjoys to have his tummy rubbed from time to time, enjoying the pleasure that is stimulated when this soft part of his body is scratched. Yet, though enjoyable, this position puts Monty and any dog into a vulnerable position, which is why dogs naturally only roll onto their back when they are submitting or are comfortable around their company. In order to enjoy the coveted tummy rub, the dog must first submit and make himself vulnerable.
Isn’t it the same with Christians?
In order to love, in order to serve, in order to receive Christ, don’t we have to submit ourselves? Jesus never says that the greatest of these will rule over his brother. Paul never says that we must first live in order to receive God’s grace–no. We are commanded to die to ourselves, to submit, to be crucified with Christ. If we wish to have our tummies rubbed by Christ–in order to receive the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that comes with his blood, we must submit ourselves, become vulnerable. And not just in our baptism, but in our daily lives. Yes, this will make us uncomfortable, but what we’ll receive shall be so much greater.
The next time you give a dog a tummy rub, take a moment. Notice the pleasure that he’s receiving from your hands, and say a prayer to the One who scratches your belly.