I was recently ill. Unfortunately my four-footed friends still needed food and water. So out of my sick bed and into the kitchen I crawled, got the dry food and filled up their bowls, opened a can of their favorite meat, called them in to eat and sat back weakened by the effort waiting for these two heretofore loving animals to tuck in and wipe their plates clean in a matter of minutes.

Much to my surprise, they barely ate a few morsels of the dry and literally turned their backs on the canned food. What ingrates, I thought. After all the effort I went to. Didn’t they know what I had to go through to get them the food? Saddened and a little miffed I left the dishes where they were and returned to bed less than mollified by what I believed to be ungrateful behavior. Then let them eat cake, I mused, turning over and trying to sleep.

But sleep wouldn’t come. (And, if truth be known, I did spiff up the story a bit just to make a point.) Yet there have been occasions where something similar happened. I would put out the food only to have it turned down. And it did take an effort, and I would think, if only they had known!

How could they have known? I told them. But I ask again, how could they have known? They couldn’t. It was all in my head. And then I thought, haven’t I done the same thing? How, you ask?

To which I answer: (1) By being inattentive to others and their kindnesses to me and failing to recognize the effort it took for them to do for me for what I could not or would not do for myself whether in times of need or plenty; and (2) By elevating this thought to the ultimate sacrifice paid for me and failing to recognize the enormity of the price it cost to undertake the plan of salvation by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To be sure, I’ve thought of it many times. But I admit I have yet to take it into myself in such a way that it is all-encompassing and alive and an ever present larger-than-life presence in my very being such that it is captivating, transforming and not merely a fleeting reflection passing through my mind from time-to-time.

I would that we could all say with Paul that to live is Christ and to die is gain…and so for His sake we have put away all things.