Read: Proverbs 12
“Good people are good to their animals; the ‘good-hearted’ bad people kick and abuse them.” (Proverbs 12:10, MSG)
What I love about the Bible is that it leaves no stone unturned as it digs into my life. Now to be honest, I also don’t like that at times—but I’m grateful that it does. God cares about my life—all of it. Yours, too! Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
The main point is that if God cares and provides for even the birds of the air, how much more will he care and provide for me, the highest of his creation. But don’t miss the lesser point as well: God cares and provides for the birds of the air. They are his creation, too, as are all animals. As the poet, Cecil Frances Alexander, wrote,
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Now here’s where the digging gets a little personal. When I mistreat, neglect or abuse an animal, I am not only disrespecting their Creator, I am offending him. Why? Aren’t they just dumb animals? Are they not created without an eternal soul, and thus not truly valuable in his eyes?
Yes, they are just dumb animals—yet he still cares for them. They have his life within them, and above all else, life is sacred to the Life Giver. Does that mean we should treat animals on the same level as human beings, become vegetarians, never wear leather or take some far out position as some with extreme views have done? Not at all. God himself has provided that certain animals were “good for food” and clothing, or to be used as “laborers” to help man accomplish his task. But he also declared some to be off limits. And some he has created for human companionship, for comfort and joy. But toward all animals, no matter what their created purpose, God has put his stamp of life upon them, and thus he forever established the sanctity of life. God cares about even the animals—and so should we.
Though we in the protestant, evangelical tradition do not venerate the saints, we do honor their lives and respect their tremendous influence upon the civilization of the world. Francis of Assisi was one of those whose contribution we admire. Francis is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment. Many legends have sprung up around his life, one of them from his death. It was said that on his deathbed Francis thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him throughout his life, and his donkey wept.
Though Francis’ treatment of animals might have been greatly exaggerated, his attitude toward the created world was simply the conventional Christianity of that era. It’s too bad that has diminished in our day! To Francis, God created and provided for all life, and therefore all creation was to praise their Maker. And as the highest of God’s creation, man was to assist the Creator as a steward of the earth by providing and protecting that which could not provide and protect itself.
The Humane Society has established an annual “Be Kind To Animals” week. As Christians, we are obligated to that every moment of every week for all of our lives. Animal kindness is simply Christianly.
“What can be seen on earth points to neither the total absence nor the obvious presence of divinity, but to the presence of a hidden God. Everything bears this mark.” ~Blaise Pascal
Winning At Life:
Take five minutes to read the following article on St. Francis of Assisi: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2007/sept13.html