Advertisements portray a society’s deeper beliefs. One Banfield pet hospital advertisement captured my attention and concerned me because it portrays a deeper worldview which has pervaded our culture. Here is the narration from the video:
“The challenge with being a human animal is we add a whole lot of junk on top of just being an animal who can exist and be happy. We make things more complicated, and when we get to be just at home with our pets . . . it allows us to just get back to the simple, pleasurable things that come with having a small furry animal curled up on your lap . . . And I think pets really just connect us to who we want to be at our core.”
At first appearance this advertisement seems innocent, but it highlights three lies that our culture has openly accepted. Thankfully, God’s truths are always ready to combat any lie that the world throws our way.
First Lie: “pets really just connect us to who we want to be at our core.”
Truth: Humans and animals were created fundamentally different.
We are not human animals. We are crafted in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says to this effect, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We are crafted by God, for God. We were never designed to descend to a lower, animalistic level. We are to draw closer to God, and drawing closer to God involves moving upwards. God not only originally created us (Psalm 139:13), but for those of us who have accepted Jesus, we are still a work in progress as Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Second Lie: “We make things more complicated, and when we get to be just at home with our pets . . . it allows us to just get back to the simple, pleasurable things”
Truth: We are to cope with stress by casting our burdens on God.
This video did capture one human sentiment very well: feeling overwhelmed. We live in a cooker pressure world. We are constantly told to strive more, achieve more, and earn more. We were not designed to handle the stress of this world- no wonder we just want to curl up with Fluffy or Fido and forget our responsibilities! We are designed to cast our burdens on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7) instead of crumbling underneath them. We can be strong even in the face of stress and trials because God is always with us, helping us in every moment.
Third Lie: “The challenge with being a human animal is we add a whole lot junk on top of just being an animal who can exist and be happy.”
Truth: Our purpose is to serve God and others, even when this makes us uncomfortable or unhappy.
Is the purpose of life simply to “exist and be happy”? Or is there something deeper? The fact of the matter is, humans will always serve something, whether that something is God, other people, or even ourselves. Whatever or whoever we place our affections on will determine the course of our lives. When we live self-sacrificially, serving God and those around us before ourselves, we discover a peace and a joy that could never be attained by serving ourselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Our pets do not lead a life that we should envy. Even though being human entails responsibilities, work, and even burdens, it also includes many God given privileges. We have been given the gift of direct connection with God, something our animals will never achieve. While life can seem stressful and chaotic at times, we have an incomparable peace from God that remains constant-regardless of the circumstances. We have the opportunity to serve God and others, thus finding joy outside of ourselves. God designed human life to be full, wonderful, and purposefully different from the creatures surrounding us.