Ever since I can remember I have been drawn to animals. All animals. Wild animals, companion animals, big animals, small animals, furry animals, not so furry animals. Animals that live at sea, on icebergs, in treetops, you name it… pretty much any creature that doesn’t look like me fascinates me, excites me, interests me, and fills me with a joy that I could never adequately explain.
When I was younger, I always loved when my science classes moved from the chapters of covering amoebas and plants to those that focused on animal sciences. The specific qualities of each animal and the roles that each species carries in our divine ecosystem is something of magnificence, sheer brilliance. Something only God could create.
As one of God’s creations myself, I know He has given me my own role to play. A purpose, that will serve Him and work towards the growth and continuance of His plan. And in order to fulfill that role He’s given me, as He does for each of us, special talents, gifts, and passions to show me what He’s called me to do. While I am a true hobbyist and love many things, I truly feel that God has bestowed upon me the deep, undying passion for animals so that I may use that passion to uphold my place in His Kingdom.
I have found that some Christians do not understand this. These individuals are focused on the human spirit, the human condition and carrying out the Great Commission of taking His Word to the ends of the earth. I wholeheartedly support this. I truly believe this is what we are all called to do when we become part of the family of Christ. I have no argument against this.
What I do think, however, is that this Commission can be carried out in a multitude of ways. Missionaries all over the world use their specific skills and interests to reach the masses. We have woodworkers and weavers, builders and business owners in far off places using their position and passion to create opportunities to share the Gospel. Our own ministers here at home do the same. Why do we have such church roles as music ministers and recreation ministers? Because God gave those gifted people a special passion, a calling. Music ministers love music and they use the talents God has given to them to spread His message. Recreation ministers are the same. They love sports and activities and they are given the opportunity to share that love with others so they may, more importantly, share His love with them also.
Animals can bring people together. There are a lot of animal lovers out there and I am one of them. I can chitchat with the best of them about funny pet stories and proper feeding and care. I can recount experiences with animals I’ve had in the past and share advice for those who may want or need it. I feel that anytime a common interest is found among a group of people, then there is opportunity to show and share God’s love. And there is hope that more will see what a profound gift His salvation really is.
Some may say animals aren’t important, that humans are the true souls of this world. I have a different opinion. As for their souls, I cannot speak directly to whether it is fact that animals do indeed have souls. But I do know that I have found that animals can and do understand the world around them. They can discern, they feel pain, they suffer, they feel fear, they feel joy, they comfort others, they play, they form bonds with those around them, they grieve and they love, often times better than us humans. My being contains all of these same qualities and so if I’m considered a soul, then I feel they may also have one as well.
I also know, based on Biblical teachings, that God placed a high importance on animals. He gave great care in their creation and when He was finished, He saw it was good. He provided them with a protector (Adam in Genesis), and he saved them from extinction (Noah in Genesis). He reprimanded shepherds for letting their flocks starve (in Ezekiel) and He rebuked a man for beating his donkey when the donkey was saving his life (Ballam in Numbers). These are just a few, there are many other tales in the Bible providing examples of the importance God places on the beasts of the earth.
Since He regards His animals so highly and has proven time and again that we are to care well for them, I cannot comprehend for a moment that He would not allow this passion I have inside to be used in a glorious way to serve in His Kingdom. To use these innocent creatures, great and small, for His good. Because He brings all things together for His good, right?
I am humbled by these beings I care for. They teach me lessons and bring me closer to God like nothing else can. I look into their eyes and I know my purpose, my responsibility is to them. I have met some amazing people because I’ve not squelched the passion I have for animals. And I think that through my efforts of loving the animals, being kind to them, caring for them, that God uses that to demonstrate His love for us. I’ve had opportunities to speak about Jesus with people that ordinarily would never have spoken to me about such topics. All because we started the conversation with, “Your puppy is so cute! What’s his name?”
All the emotions we feel, animals feel too. And because of this they make excellent companions. In my nonprofit work I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say their pet is like their child or their best friend. These people are the very same who would feed their animal first before feeding themselves. It is those people that I know I can reach for God. By showing interest and a love for their precious companion, I show God’s love and His amazing grace. I can open the door to a friendship with these people that I would never have been able to open had it not been for their animal. We can talk about their sweet, furry friend and that, without a doubt, will lead to deeper, more meaningful conversation.
There is nothing worthless in God’s creation. Everything has a purpose and a plan. For those who question my motives or wonder why my focus and love seems firmly held for animals, I say that animals are truly important beings who lead us to other truly important beings, all of which are God’s creation and all of which He says is good.