Rufus M. is well-loved by all standards.
When he joined our family a month ago, Rufus M. attached himself to the leader of his new pack-- me. I'm his Alpha dog. I show him where to potty, when to eat, what furniture he can nap on, and where we're going to take our daily walk. He looks to me to help him understand and navigate his new environment. But I appear to mean more to him than a mere guidance counselor or food provider. My children are capable enough to lead him on walks, they fill his food bowl, they brush him and play toys with him: all (easily) 10X more frequently than I do every day. And yet, when I enter the room, Rufus M. is bounding away from whichever forlorn daughter of mine was mid-belly-rub with him and adopting his position right by my side.
The Alpha dog is the center of Rufus M.'s universe. The Alpha dog is where, for Rufus, meaning is found. The Alpha dog is his anchor.
I love this picture of worship found in the book of John:
"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
To whom shall we go?
Where else is meaning found? Where else can we hear and taste the words of life?
Are we not already at the center of the universe? Why then should we leave? What's better out there than this?
In his book, The Cost of Discipleschip, Dietrich Bonhoeffer discusses following Christ for the benefits of being a Christian rather than following Christ for Christ. One is false worship, the other represents a true worshiper's heart. Do we claim the name of Christ because we want to get to heaven? Because we enjoy the Church so much? Do we pursue Jesus because we desire more grace and mercy? Is it the clean living and the feelings of righteousness that drive us in our faith journey?
Of course none of those are offensive by any means, but what if those things were not a part of the Christian's "package deal"? Thinking of Rufus M.; is he constantly beside me solely for a scrap of bacon and fresh water in his bowl, or is there a deeper need inside him for a connection with his "source"?
Would we still be following Christ if the only incentive was Christ alone?
It's a sobering thought that can help me align my focus to worshiping the only thing, person and future that deserves it. Christ the Anchor, the Center, the Meaning.
I agree with Simon Peter, to whom shall I go?