Whitey the Dog

A few years ago, my father-in-law had a Jack Russell terrier named Whitey. He was sort of off-white, actually, with a prominent brown spot circling his eye. When we first met him, Papaw asked us with a twinkle in his eye, “What do you think I named him?” Of course, we all guessed “Spot.” He said, “No, Whitey,” without ever explaining his logic.

Anyway, Whitey was an energetic, active and slightly aggravating, little guy who would not leave you alone. He constantly carried a green tennis ball in his mouth (because he didn’t have pockets). This ball had seen better days, and was constantly covered in dirt, dog drool, and other assorted materials.

But Whitey’s goal in life… his purpose in life… his passion in life… was to play catch with the ball. And he would aggravate you until you absolutely had to join him in his favorite pursuit, at least for a moment.

Now if we could get in Whitey’s brain, there was one thing there. One thing that brought him meaning, and joy, and a reason for existing; a green tennis ball. He slept with it, ate with it, and took it with him everywhere he went.

I wonder what could happen if we ever got anywhere near that kind of passion and single-minded pursuit as we think about Jesus? As we pursue Him as our highest goal, our single aspiration… and refuse to leave others alone until we share it with them?

I know. We aren’t dogs. Life is more complicated for human beings… choices too many… pleasures too available.

But still I wonder… if Whitey was God’s way of tapping me on the shoulder?

“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21


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