(Jesus said) "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." Mark 13:37
When Martin Luther's dog was looking to get some scraps, which might fall from his master's table, the reformer commented, "Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope."
Over the centuries some things haven't changed, including a dog's concentration on "treats."
Unfortunately, some of the things our dogs find pleasant to the eye are not necessarily good. Case in point: after the deaths of more than 1,000 dogs and 5,000 sick pooches, Petco has decided to stop selling all dog and cat jerky treats, which have been made in China.
Now it's true the FDA hasn't identified a direct cause for the illnesses, and it is also true the owner of a Chinese factory that makes these treats ate one to prove his dog jerky was safe. Still, Petco feels the evidence is strong enough to justify their pulling the treats from the shelves.
Now, if you're wondering what do dog jerky treats have to do with Christianity, I can reply: a great deal -- if you remember one of the devil's greatest tricks is to take something that is bad for us and make it appealing to our eyes.
Consider just a few of the times when the devil has been successful by making the forbidden seem appealing. In the Garden of Eden, Eve saw the forbidden fruit was a "delight to the eyes" (see Genesis 3:6), and she ate; centuries later Achan saw -- and took -- forbidden spoils from the fallen city of Jericho (see Joshua 7), and David got himself into no end of trouble when he became a peeping tom (see 2 Samuel 11).
Today our envious eyes show us all the things we simply have to have, and pornography has twisted and messed up many lives and marriages. Knowing our looks of lust and longing, the Savior warned: "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell" (Matthew 5:29).
Thankfully, there is a solution to our visual search for the sinful.
The Lord Jesus encouraged His people: "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33 KJV). That's it. We need to keep our eyes fixed on the cross and the Savior's empty tomb. It was there, as well as throughout His life, that Jesus paid the price that won our salvation. If we look at Jesus' sacrifice and if we continue to pray for deliverance and assistance, the Holy Spirit will help shut our souls to seeing that which is sinful.
And that, my friends, takes us back to Luther who said, "Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my eyes look only upon that which is healthy for my mind, heart and soul. Grant that I may avoid gazing on and longing for the temptations of the devil. This I ask in the Name of the crucified and risen Savior. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries