As adorable as he is, and despite the fact that he does spend a lot of time indoors, Bean is not a parlor dog. He is, in the vernacular of the South, “a huntin’ dog.” Boykin Spaniels were originally bred to flush wild turkeys in damp, marshy areas. Bean has amazing instincts for hunting. He absolutely loves sniffing and flushing and retrieving. He is ecstatic when he has a job. It’s what he was born to do and you can tell. If it’s possible for dogs to smile, Bean does just that when he is fetching and running and chasing birds.
On the other hand, if you ever want to see one sad puppy, catch Bean on a rainy day or a day when he hasn’t had a chance to run and explore the yard. He is so miserable, it makes me feel awful. He just doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself. He sniffs and snorts and carries a training bumper around the house. He’s pitiful. He sort of acts like a horse that’s anxious to run—you just can’t rein him in. He knows he is out of sorts, but he’s not sure why.
Christians get the same way when we don’t do what we were created to do. The Bible tells us that we were created to fellowship with God and give Him pleasure. We were designed to be God’s friends and companions. When we don’t spend time with Him, we are just like Bean without a romp—antsy for no apparent reason. When we miss out on the vital communication with our creator, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We don’t know which way to go or what we ought to be doing. We often compensate with frenetic activities—sometimes good ones like serving others and doing good deeds and even church activities. But those activities don’t fill our need for communion with God any more than Bean carrying a training bumper satisfies his need to hunt.
“May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose.” (Psalm 20:4 NKJV)
This story is part of a series I call “Bean Parables.” These are life lessons I’ve learned from my two Boykin Spaniels named Cocoa and Bean.