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The Magnificent Obsession

remyMeet Remy, the wire-haired fox terrier. According to his humans on Facebook, he passed away last week after a happy dog life of over 17 years. His family is missing him, of course, but they will be chuckling over some of his antics for a long time – like the one you see in this picture. You see, Remy was obsessed with the lamb in their Nativity set. He would climb furniture and precariously balance himself on chairs so he could nab the little figurine. The family finally had to put the crèche in an unreachable spot to keep Remy from making off with the lamb.

Like Remy, people can get obsessed about certain things. A lot of these fixations are socially-acceptable, such as sports, work, recreation, decorating, TV shows, shopping. (Mine happens to be tacos). But one obsession that strikes a universal nerve is religion. After all, religious people tend to be obnoxious, judgmental and dogmatic. They look down their noses at people who don’t share their beliefs and try to spoil everyone’s fun.

At least, some do.

Yet there are a shining few among the religious whose obsession draws people in rather than turns them off. When a woman told the great missionary, E. Stanley Jones, that he was obsessed with the Kingdom of God, he replied, “I wish that were true. For that truly is a magnificent obsession.”

I have to admit, I am not “there” yet. I get distracted by the world. I have this habit of putting myself in the driver’s seat instead of Jesus. That’s why I greatly esteem people who put God first, whether it’s a famous personage like Mother Teresa or the aging woman I met, years ago, who faithfully served in an after-school Bible club sponsored by her small-town church. I suspect it’s the same with you, even if you don’t have strong religious beliefs. There is something winsome and admirable about a Christian who loves God above all else, often sacrificing safety and comfort to serve others.

Thanks, Remy, for the reminder. Your obsession with that little nativity lamb prods me to keep my eyes on another lamb – the Lamb of God — who said, “. . .seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). 

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