Let me start by saying that although I love animals, I am not what you would call a cat person. Don’t get me wrong; I grew up with cats. I have no issue with cats. However, I also have no burning desire to own a cat.
About five years ago, my boys informed Gina and I that they wanted a cat. But we did not want a cat. My boys told me that they needed a cat. I said this was false, that nobody needs a cat. Yet, the boys persisted. They begged for a cat. They pleaded for a cat! They drew pictures depicting how good life would be with a cat and dropped hints about cat acquisition at dinner. But Gina and I stood firm. We did not want a cat.
Finally, we couldn’t take the endless hints and suggestions any longer. We were forced to exert our parental authority on this issue, and, well, yes…we bought a cat. Her name is Marley.
During my devotional time each morning, Marley wants nothing more than to be in my lap. She is quite persistent. After a few weeks, it became clear that Marley and I had a routine, despite my lack of enthusiasm for the idea. To this day, devotional time for me equals lap time for her, and she gets very out-of-sorts if she doesn’t get to complete her routine.
What if we were as persistent in pursuing a devotional relationship with God as Marley is pursuing her morning routine? After all, it’s easy to justify skipping our devotional time, especially on busy days (yes, this can be a struggle for pastors too). What if our routine was so focused on being with God—a steadfast commitment to daily time with Him—that we cannot move on with our day until we spend time in His presence?
Martin Luther once quipped, “I have much to do today, so I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” And indeed, turning our eyes toward “things above” (Col. 3:12) is the most important thing we can do each day. On the days when packed schedules and excessive busyness threaten to take over, we need our daily time with God more than ever!
I still maintain that nobody really needs a cat. However, I’m thankful for what I see as a lesson taught by the Holy Spirit through Marley. Even though cats don’t need daily devotions, Marley’s persistent presence each morning reminds me that I do. My challenge this week is to ask God to remind you to spend time with Him every day—especially when things get busy! Don’t do it as an afterthought but as the first and most crucial part of your daily routine.
You may also find it helpful to get a cat.