Mooch Pooch

Nowadays it isn’t uncommon for us to treat our pets as children. We lovingly call them “fur babies” and refer to ourselves and each other as a doggie or kitty mommies and daddies, taking them with us wherever they are allowed and sometimes even places where they’re not. I had an Aunt we all used to laugh at because her pooch had a place at the table, and they would share spoons! I won’t tell you what we saw this doggie eating when my Aunt wasn’t looking! I cut my Aunt some slack now that I have a fur baby of my own, my cat Bubu. While we don’t share spoons, I admit I freely give kisses!

It was much different in ancient times, however, as especially loose dogs were often disdained by the public and looked upon as scavengers or “mooch pooches”. One quick example is when a Canaanite woman (who was not an Israelite) approached Jesus asking for help for her daughter, who was cruelly demon possessed.

25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.  Matthew 15:25-28

This woman saw the parallel that Jesus was making between her and a mooch pooch, and instead of allowing pride or a wounded spirit get in her way, humbly chose to express her faith by using Jesus’ reference to her benefit. But did you know that isn’t the only reference to mooch pooches in the new testament? I was reading through Philippians recently and came across another mooch pooch reference in the second verse of chapter three:

"Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.  Philippians 3:2-3

Here, the Greek word used for dog is κύνας or κύων (translated kuón) and while the literal meaning is dog, figuratively it is in reference to “a spiritual predator who feeds off others”. The message of verse 2 is clearly telling us that there are those who labor in evil, pretend to be something they are not, and are in the habit of mooching off the spiritual labor and service of others. They must be a bit clever at it too, otherwise Paul might not have found it necessary to tell us to “beware”.

I have to admit even after having become a child of God, I’ve played the role of mooch pooch many times, feeding off the table scraps of other’s walk with Christ. If we’re honest we’ll admit we all have, and while it may have been the only thing we knew at the time, it was never the intention that we stay there. The Lord has always invited us to not only have a place at His table, but to feast on the lavish meal He has prepared for us!

In writing this letter to the Philippians, I don’t think the Apostle Paul was primarily out to warn them of pretenders and moochers as much as he really wanted to convey to them, this congregation that he loved so dearly, the main passion of his heart, which he reveals clearly in verse 10:

"that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death"

Reading the surrounding scripture in context helps us to see that it is in support of this. Even in the small details, such as in verse 14 where he notes the “upward” call rather than an “outward” call.

 "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Through the Apostle Paul we understand that Christ invites us to quit being mooch pooches, feeding off the spirituality or service of others, and experience Him for ourselves. He wants us to freely choose to love Him with the same passion that He loves us. As author Bob Sorge once wrote: “Jesus is looking for a bride with whom He can relate, who can identify with His joys and who has also experienced His pains“. Woe, that says it all. Paul gave his all for this prize, and I want to, too.

“It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table”.

A. W. Tozer

Don’t starve this Christmas!


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