There she was at the door, jumping up and down for joy, barking and wagging her tail, as if to say: “He’s back!” After a long and tiring day, I received the most wonderful welcome from our black Labrador retriever.

It made me feel good. I smiled and gave her the attention she wanted. After all, a dog is man’s best friend.

But then a funny thought struck me: Am I just as excited when I meet with Jesus?

I’ll be honest: I have a way to go.

I treasure prayer, and I enjoy studying my Bible, but compared to my dog’s sincere outburst of joy, I realize my enthusiasm could be greater.

Why is my dog so happy to see me? I suppose the answer is as simple as it is deep. It’s because she treasures being with me. She isn’t only happy because she knows I feed her and take her on long walks through the fields. She’s happy because she wants to be with me.

When I read about the heroes of faith, I notice they had the same attitude.

These men and women of God liked to pray. They liked to read God’s Word. They looked forward to the moment they could spend time with their Lord. They loved being with Him early in the morning, late at night … and almost constantly throughout the day.

Is that enthusiasm reserved for the great heroes of faith? What about average people like me?

For a while, I thought I had that excitement in my relationship with God, but after seeing my dog today, I’m looking at it a bit differently.

Sometimes my time with God feels flat, because I’ve got my priorities wrong. I’m not seeking God because I like to be with Him, but because I have selfish reasons of my own. I’m sad, or lonely, or sick, or struggling to pay the bills, or all of these things. In short, I need something from Him.

It’s not wrong to pray for needs. Jesus wants us to do that. But in our relationship with God, we should want to be with Him because we like it. Oswald Chambers said: “The goal of prayer is that we get closer to God. It’s not that our prayers are answered.”

I’m going to take that lesson to heart.

Funny that I had to learn it from my dog.