Saturday, February 16, 2013

Of Cats & Mice

Scratching, scurrying sounds attracted my attention to the big metal grain barrel in our garage. Curiously I glanced inside the barrel to see a fat mouse attempting to escape what had probably at first seemed like mousy heaven. But the level of grain was very low and the mouse was unable to jump out after eating its fill. Not wanting to deal directly with this captive mouse, but eager for it to be disposed of, I went inside to find one of our two cats. 

Maya is a beautiful, mild tempered kitty. She is affectionate and playful with her human family. But she lives in fear. Fear that is, of our dog Whitney. Maya lives inside the house, rarely ever venturing out because she thinks that Whitney will hurt her. She is good at catching mice, but her chosen habitat affords her few opportunities for hunting. 

Chiquito is a handsome, brave kitty. He is has no fear of dogs; in fact, Chiquito taught Whitney a lesson or two a while back which results in him being treated with respect by the dog! He is also an excellent mouser, often going on successful hunting expeditions in the barn and fields. But Chiquito is very independent and usually grumpy. With few exceptions, he considers his human family a nuisance. 

Inside the house, I easily located Maya sleeping by the woodstove. I picked up the purring fluff-ball and headed back to the garage with her. As I stepped out the door, Maya immediately stiffened and dug her claws into my sweater. Ignoring the easy mouse-meal in the barrel, she clung to me in fear. Attempting to drop her into the barrel was impossible without being scratched by her sharp claws. Maya had caught sight of Whitney, who stood nearby innocently wagging her tail. After a few minutes spent trying to interest Maya in the mouse, I gave up on this scaredy-cat and took her back inside. 

Chiquito was located in his favorite spot on the couch, looking out the window. As I scooped him into my arms, he began hissing and growling at me! Ignoring his grumpy behavior I took him to the garage and dropped him in the grain barrel. In less than 10 seconds Chiquito had the mouse within his jaws. He was still growling, but he looked up at me with pride as if catching this mouse was something he did without any of my help. I reached down in the deep barrel to pick him back up, but he wouldn’t let me. Instead he jumped powerfully out of the barrel by himself and ran growling out into the woods to enjoy his tasty dinner all by himself. 

What foolish kitties Maya and Chiquito are, I laughed! One was too scared to accept the free mouse meal and the other took it with prideful arrogance and ungratefulness! And then it struck me. How often have I been like my cats? 

God has given me many opportunities to be a witness to people for Him. He softens the hearts of the people, prepares the way, and provides for my every need along the way. His Word is filled with promises of protection, guidance, and victory. My cooperation is the only thing God needs. And yet, like Maya I often avoid or run away from witnessing opportunities because of fear.  At other times, I go out reluctantly like Chiquito. And though I don’t deserve it, God rewards my humble efforts with success and victory. But what do I do? I return with prideful selfishness, as if it were due to my own efforts that victory was given! 

Hmm. . . quite a lesson to learn from cats and mice. May God take from me my selfish pride and unreasonable fearfulness and make me more like Him!


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