4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I’ve always heard of “church mice”. But in our parsonage (our home next door to the church) we have “church cats”—a pair of tabbies named Marvin and Sister (pictured snoozing on a windowsill above)—and I think they get rid of the church mice. The other morning I opened a new sack of Meow Mix so I could feed my kitties breakfast, and lo and behold a “prize” fell out of the sack into their bowl. It was a sample packet of a new product– party mix for cats.
Well, being the curious sort of fellow I am, I opened it up to see if the cats would eat it. What I found out is that cats love Chex-mix-for-cats! (And neither I nor the cats have been paid off by the manufacturer to say that.) The boys and I started to play around with it to test it out. We would put a morsel of dry food in one hand and a pellet of party mix in the other hand to see which hand the cat would eat from.
Even though the two products look almost identical, the cats could not be fooled. They chose the party mix pellets every time. (The factory must spray something on the Chex-mix that cats can’t resist. Catnip Cocaine? Kitty-Cat Crack? Meow-Mix Meth? I don’t know….) And what self-respecting cat could resist the “Picnic Crunch” flavor?
I’ve heard an awful lot of preachers in my life, and, to hear some of them tell it, everything new that hits the market is a sign of the end of the world as we know it. I can just hear them ranting about the decadence of a society that makes snack items for pets.
But the whole episode struck me in an entirely different way. I realized that when you live in a country that makes party mix for cats, you’re living in a pretty good place. There must be enough resources that multitudes of people are not starving to death in the streets. It seems to reflect the presence of a pleasant and loving, optimistic, sense of humor. People in this country must have a soft spot in their hearts for the living things God has made; I mean, they understand the joy of living in this beautiful world, and they want to share that with even the smallest creature.
In today’s scripture lesson (at the top), St. Paul gives one of his favorite exhortations for the Christian: “Rejoice!” I can’t help but believe that what he means is that we should look for the blessings that God puts in each new day and to be glad about them. I work with the public every day, and the thing I have noticed lately is that there are two kinds of people—those who believe that life is a trial to be endured, full of negatives, and those who are grateful for all the blessings they see and doing their darndest to make the most of each day. The ones in the second category are having the most fun—and are probably, without knowing it, showing others the way to Heaven.
So, which will you choose as you go through this new week? Why not make each moment a celebration—for the cats AND for you!
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” * He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 18) and Seth (age 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Sister eats 6 pellets of Purina each day, and Marvin eats a metric ton). You should write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.