Learning Theology from St. Timothy

We read in the New Testament…

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Phil 4.11-12, ESV)

This passage is no doubt familiar to all Christians, but I confess, it is one I have read more than I have practiced. Recently, I have been reminded of a marvelous example of this theological truth lived out in the life of St. Timothy. I’m not talking about the biblical Timothy, after all this passage was written by Paul to the Philippian church…I’m talking about Timothy, or rather Timmy, our dog.

Don’t get me wrong, I think emails along the lines of “Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from my dog,” are pretty darn laSt. Timothyme, but it occurred to me that occasionally there are some lessons to take from our four-legged friends…in this case, a profound theological lesson in contentment.

You see every day at 6:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. I feed the dog. He gets the exact same food he has gotten for his entire 13 years at exactly the same time of day, in exactly the same bowl, in exactly the same portion (save for the minor addition of his thyroid meds now that he’s an old man). Call me crazy, it sounds pretty monotonous and unsatisfying! But for St. Timothy, who has mastered the art of contentment ‘in any and every circumstance,’ it remains a feast to this day. When I pick up his bowl he starts frantically wagging his ‘nub’ and gets as excited as if he were finally getting that filet mignon (or the cat). He is greatly pleased and appreciative simply to be able to eat a few kibbles and lose that empty feeling in his stomach for just a couple more hours. Talk about simplicity in contentment!

Oh that I could be more like my ever-satisfied St. Timothy and less like our never-satisfied culture around us that hustles and bustles just to have a little bit more today than we thought would make us happy last week…


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