Well, our stray kitty keeps teaching me lessons. Our primary goal with this cat is simply to show it some kindness and make its life easier. We've been quite successful at that. He's put on weight, his fur is sleek and shiny and he is much calmer. Clearly he feels secure living in our yard. (I still haven't discovered where he sleeps!) The first lesson Cat taught me was that when we are dealing with "stray" people we are foolish indeed if we set our goals any higher than our goals with this cat. The "stray" people of this world – the homeless person at the church door, the neighbor who does nasty things to you and your property, Aunt Mabel who, despite her age, remains clueless as to how much she has hurt you, or some old Charlie Bailey (whom I wrote about in my August 12, 2014 post) – will only respond to one thing from us – unconditional love. (The word "unconditional" is important in that phrase. Think about it for a bit.) Showing kindness to this cat without expectations for any kind of outcome is, I suppose, an example of unconditional love. (Let's not forget, though, that people are far more important than animals.)
Anyway, that was Lesson 1. Lesson 2 has come over time as we have persisted in feeding Stray Kitty. At the end of our dining room is a french door that opens onto a tiny deck. Twice each day Kitty comes to that door and sits staring at us, meowing for food. If we aren't around he lays down and waits for us to show up. There is a measure of trust in that behavior. Kitty has come to trust Ruth and me at least a little bit. He has even stopped running away when we open the door and instead merely steps back a couple of feet. The other day he even sniffed my finger as I set the food pan down on the deck. Some of his fear is gone and he is beginning to trust us.
The extension is this: When we show kindness and unconditional love to a "stray" person and they keep coming back for more, it betrays in them a growing trust. This trust may well be focused on you (the benefactor), but in reality it is in God. Deep down, everyone knows that all good things come from God, even when He uses the hand of man to do the distribution (James 1:17). So, as we are persistent and persevering in showing kindness and extending unconditional love to the unloved, God is at work drawing them to Him. It’s kind of an awesome thought that God lets us share in doing what He is doing.