We’re dog minding Matthias for a couple of weeks whilst his owners enjoy a holiday. He’s big and black and quite a nice fellow; friendly and happy and mostly obedient. Moogie, our dog, is glad for the company.

If you asked me whether I loved Moogie, I’d say, ‘Of course I do. He’s a big brown bundle of mischievous goodness’. If you asked me whether I loved Matthias, I’d reply, ‘Mmmm…  He’s a nice big black dog. I like him, but I wouldn’t say I love him’.

Somehow things are different.  Matthias doesn’t enjoy the freedoms Moogie is used to. Life isn’t quite as relaxed on the home front. Matthias, you see, is not our dog.

It’s not that Moogie is an angel and Matthias a devil (although one is brown and the other black… makes you wonder), it’s just that Matthias is not our dog. I admit it. I’m biased. It’s true. I play favourites. I give preference to those in my own family. When Matthias goes home I won’t grieve his loss.

How different is God’s love for me? I’m hardly nice, let alone likeable. By nature, I’m God’s enemy. But ‘God demonstrates his own love for me in this, whilst I was still a sinner, Christ died for me’ (Romans 5:8 paraphrased)Not only that, in Christ Jesus, God warmly welcomes me into his family. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3:1). God is so good, he’s so good to me.