During a time when my children were still living at home, an older couple down the street asked us to feed and water their two beloved dogs while they were out of town. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events, but somehow the week that the couple was to be out of town got written down wrong on our calendar.
The neighbors lived beyond another crossing road in our subdivision so that we did not pass their home on our daily excursions. You can imagine how distraught the couple was to come home and find out their dogs had not been cared for during the week. The animals had found some water on their own, but had not been fed for several days and were weak and emaciated. Of course, our family felt horrible and apologized profusely. We were relieved beyond belief when the dogs made a full recovery after some tender loving care by their owners.
You can’t neglect a pet if you want it to be healthy; in a somewhat rough analogy, it’s also true that you can’t leave your faith alone if you want it to thrive. Faith has to be fed and watered to be robust. We hear of people who have “lost their faith,” but it is not so much a case of something missing as much as something that has been neglected. Starvation causes any living thing to wither and and die.
Robust faith requires healthy meals — Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20, NIV)
We spend time with Jesus through taking in God’s word regularly and through talking to Him about whatever is going on in our lives and listening to His responses. It also comes through being in fellowship with other believers who encourage and strengthen us in our faith.
Notice that the responsibility is with us to take the initiative. “If you seek Me you will find Me, if you search for Me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13, NASB). We may not know how to even begin seeking God, but if we have a desire to find Him, we can admit our ignorance and ask Him to help us.
The good news about our neighbors’ dogs is that they fully recovered their strength. If your faith is weak or has seemingly disappeared, it also can be recovered and made stronger than ever through some tender love care and attention. We would never knowingly leave an animal to fend for itself. Let’s not leave our faith to fend for itself either. Let’s feed and nourish it, and enjoy a vibrant relationship with Jesus.