T. Pierce Brown

Cinnamon was our little dachshund who for about 16 years had thought she was a part of the family. As I dug a grave for her beside an oak tree behind our house, I started crying. Frankly, that shocked me, for I take a little pride in my presumed ability to handle emotional situations in a rational way. Can you imagine a reasonably intelligent, mature, grown man crying about the loss of a dog?  I have conducted many funeral services over the last 40 years, and have cried less at many of them than I did there with my dog! Why?

I am sure that I do not know all the reasons why people cry, but these thoughts occurred to me which may be helpful to you. First, I thought of one of God’s precious little creatures suffering as she did for a while before she died, and I felt grief for her. But I wondered, “How much grief do I really feel for the millions of God’s precious creatures who are going to be suffering for eternity if someone does not bring them to the Great Physician for His cure?” How many tears have I shed for the lost of the world?

Second, I felt a personal loss of one that had loved me and needed me. So, it was a selfish kind of grief, for there would be no longer a joyous welcome of a little friend who just got pleasure from being with me — whether walking or resting. But I wondered, “How many persons of my acquaintance have I so cultivated or treated that they feel a great joy at being with me, and show a loving need for my presence? How much difference to I really make in anyone’s life and happiness because of my love and care for them?”

Without either trying to analyze or apologize for or rationalize my immaturity, emotionalism or sentimentality, and without admitting or assuming that I cared more for my dog than I do for some people, I cannot keep from wondering how many thousands of Christians (?) spend more energy and time caring for their dogs than they do in striving to save a soul. How many spend more for dog food than they do for preaching the gospel to the lost? How many would be more heartbroken at the lost of their pet than at the loss of a thousand souls?

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