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Tales and Dog Tails

Dogs are amazing creatures. Most of you don’t need me to tell you that. Not only can dogs be trained to do amazing things, but they seem to be quite pleased to dwell with people. By all appearances, the greatest pleasure some dogs seem to know is the presence of their master—particularly if their master is pleased with them. They will retrieve wild game, fight wild boars, wrestle criminals to the ground, round up straying sheep and much more simply to hear their master’s praise. Amazing. O that we were more devoted to our Master and that it was our greatest joy simply to be with Him—that our greatest delight might be in hearing His “well done, good and faithful servant.”

I remember when we got our second dog a decade ago. Our first dog was then eleven. She was a 125-pound chocolate lab that lived primarily to eat. She was a small horse. Our new dog was a 10-pound yorkie-poo that was too cute for her own good. Both dogs got excited when we got home after they had been left alone for awhile. The big dog was excited because she could go out and relieve herself and come back in and hopefully eat something. Our presence was relatively inconsequential. The little one was excited to the point of wagging her fool backside off simply because she could be with us again.

I tolerated both dogs well enough, but I found them especially pleasant when they did what I wanted them to do. The little one was learning obedience. The older one was smart enough to know what I wanted, but stubborn enough (and big enough) to resist effectively. When younger, this same obstinate pooch was notorious about tipping over the neighborhood trashcans. We would come home or walk outside and find the pleasantness of the day disrupted by trash strewn all up and down the block—and our dog rummaging for food (what else—she lived to eat). In the winter, when it came time to take her out for her evening “duty,” our lab would as often as not lie down and roll over and refuse to budge. I can’t tell you how many times I literally dragged her out the door and down the steps. I know it must have hurt, but she preferred to take a chance that she might get to stay in where it was warm rather than doing her business quickly and coming back inside. Instead she ended up outside anyway but with some pain added to the equation. Go figure. But how often have I been just as stubborn in persisting in my rebellion against the ways of God? Go figure.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want to be the kind of follower of Christ that prefers my own appetites to the will of my Master, or my own comfort and convenience to heeding His commands. Too often I have rummaged through the garbage of the world seeking something fulfilling rather than simply coming to Christ and delighting in Him. Maybe I could learn a lesson from my two dogs, and learn to be a man who lives to honor Christ rather than living to satisfy myself. Then, maybe when He returns, I’ll know the kind of happiness, joy and satisfaction that is the equivalent of whatever it is that makes those dogs wag their backsides off.

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