Begging Gretzky


A number of years ago I was serving in a church calling which required I visit the wards and branches of my stake.  In visiting the different congregations, I would often take the opportunity to talk with the primary-age children. I usually took a few minutes in sharing time to express some thoughts. One year as I traveled about, I told a story about Gretzsky, our dog, named after the famed Hockey player. I told them that our dog loved to eat human food but that he had developed an allergy from consuming it. The veterinarian had told us that, for his own good, we should discontinue feeding him human food. However, Gretzsky didn’t understand that the food he so desired was actually making him sick. Consequently, he continued to beg for my wife’s “home cooked” meals. Most of the time, my kids gave in to his constant begging because they couldn’t stand to see him be sad. But, just because their motives were good, didn’t mean they were doing the best thing for our dog. The best thing for his health was to feed him proper dog food.

I paralleled that to a loving Heavenly Father who knows what is best for our “spiritual” health. Sometimes, like my dog Gretzsky, we don’t understand why we can’t always have the things we want. Sometimes we might be tempted to think that if Heavenly Father really loved us he would give us what we desire. However, a truly loving Father nurtures those he loves. Sometimes that means holding back, or refraining from giving things that we desire when he knows it will be detrimental to our spiritual health. Many times, like Gretzsky, we don’t understand. I told them how wonderful it is to know that we have a Father that will always be looking out for our spiritual growth.

It is easy to understand why Gretzsky wanted tasty human food compared to the bland dog food we tried to serve him. It is also easy to see that the best thing loving dog owners should have done was to change his diet. My children’s kindness didn’t do Gretzsky any favors. Sadly, he developed cancer within a year or so of me telling this story and had to be put to sleep. Our dog Gretzsky developed a taste for things that were harmful to his health. He begged and begged to get it and in the end it killed him. He should have been satisfied with what his masters gave him, but he wasn’t.

Thank goodness we have a Heavenly Father who has more wisdom than earthly masters, and watches over and protects our spiritual health so that we might live. Perhaps we should be more willing to accept the “bland” dog food placed before us in this life, rather than the spicy things of the world. Knowing that we have a loving Father watching over us should give us faith in the words of the Savior when he said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) Let us have faith in the Lord and in the infinite love he has for us all. Let us be willing to accept his will and submit to his will. In so doing, we will gain eternal life!


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