Love Since Childhood
Growing up, I loved animals. I would bring home all the stray cats and animals I could find. My room would be filled with stuff — not mine, but stuff for my various animals. All my allowance and later on, my part-time job paycheck would go towards supporting animal rescues and buying supplies for stray animals in need.
My parents objected at first, but they grew to accept that this was how their daughter was. They never quite understood why I was so obsessed with helping animals. It was present in everything that I did, from my college major to my volunteering to my service work at church.
Loving Myself or God More?
But when I became busier with work and school, I stopped volunteering. I stopped going out to the rescues. I stopped volunteering at my local shelter. I said goodbye to strays rather than pick up them to bring them home. I told myself, “I’m too busy. I need to focus on myself right now.” However, I started to experience the heart to serve, care and love once again when I began attending a new ministry with my home church, San Francisco Zion Church.
I love nature because you can really see the heart of God contained within it — His heart of love and grace for all creation. Jesus also came with this very heart of love and gave himself to the world because he loved us so much. If God and Jesus could love a sinner like me, then how could I not love the animals that God created? How could I not give my time back to Him and His beloved beings?
Looking back, I realize that I was very selfish back then. I thought only about my own busy schedule, but didn’t stop to consider that the few hours I spent volunteer could save the lives of many of God’s living creatures. Was I greater than God’s creation? Definitely not! But I was only full of love for myself, and not for others or God. I was full of complaints and feeling sorry for myself, when that emotion could have been better spent feeling sympathy for those in need.
God’s Heart for His Creation in Me
After learning the Bible more and learning to meditate on God’s word with my Bible study group at church, I thought carefully about what I was doing before God. I realize that He gave me the heart to serve, and it wasn’t my place to shove this heart away and replace it with worries about my career and future. God is the one I need to please, not man.
What helped me to really perceive this was the constant volunteering we did as a group. At first, I only went out to volunteer because I didn’t want to be judged for not going. But now, I am glad to wake up early mornings to go. Why? Because I feel God’s love within every single of His creation, and I love the feeling of being able to contribute.
Not every animal rescue story ends happily. Many, unfortunately, die because they lack proper treatment or it is just too late. But God hasn’t ever given up on us just because bad things continue to happen. He has loved us ever since, despite our sin and our insufficiency. I want to do my very best to have the heart of God.