09 October 2004

What kind of dog would I be? (KN)

Walking along the river bank this afternoon I came across a woman exercising her dog. Some dogs collect things!The dog ran towards me along the river path, then obediently lay down at a command. As I came up behind him and walked past, his eyes didn't waver. He didn't so much as glance at me, he was watching his owner very intently, waiting for the next command. His owner said, 'Get it then! Go on!', and off he went like an arrow released from a bow, off to fetch a ball or something else she'd left behind for him.

As we passed I smiled and said, 'Very good!'. I got a big grin back as I carried on walking.

Is this dog typical? No! I don't think so! I can think of several examples of badly behaved dogs - and I'm quite sure you can too...

We are like dogs too, some of us are more obedient than others. My brother-in-law has a Boxer called Rosie, she has a mind of her own, she will obey - but only if it suits her - or if she can see a titbit waiting for good behaviour! She is wilful, and she wants to be in charge. There are other dogs that don't disobey deliberately, but they never learned the words of command, they don't understand what is wanted of them.

I doubt if any of us is totally obedient. Some of us are wilful and want our own way, others perhaps are not attuned to our Master's voice. Some make a determined attempt, but sooner or later get it wrong for one reason or another.

It seems to me that the obedience of dogs is a very good illustration of the principles. A dog needs a master and must learn to obey without hesitation, certainly a good working dog will never question an order. Think of a sheepdog, or a retriever, or a dog trained to find drugs or explosives. They are only useful if they are obedient and reliable.

So if we want to be useful to the Master we must begin by learning to hear and recognise his voice. We can't obey him unless we first know what he wants of us. And having heard, we must have a heart to do his will, not our own. We might think our own ideas and methods will do the job, but they will not; we would be no more use than a sheepdog that decided for itself where the sheep should go.

Nor should we expect a reward, we may or may not receive one; our main reward will be in heaven - eternal life with the Son in the presence of the Father and surrounded by a great host of brothers and sisters. But here and now there may be no reward that we can identify. Our motives must be pure, we obey because he is our Father and we love him.

And like the obedient dog we must fix our eyes on the Master, unwavering, undistracted, and patient. When he gives the word we will be ready and will obey instantly.

Here in this world we have a relationship, first with the Master but also with our brothers and sisters, we will do well if we keep our eyes firmly focussed on his wonderful face. We will learn so much from what we see there, is he smiling? Being one of his people means we must interact with others. If they are to be built up and encouraged we'd better be obeying orders, not just making it all up as we go along.

Where we are not sure we do well to look all the more carefully. Never take your eyes off the King! Where we are not clear we must practice listening. How does the obedient dog develop such acute powers of observation and attention? By training, by practice. Practice hearing and seeing and you will get better at it. I promise you! Practice obedience and you will get better at that too. So that is our goal, to practice and practice and become more attuned to hearing and obeying.

See! We can even learn from the behaviour of our pets. Our Master is really good, loves us well, and knows how to train us; if we are obedient we can expect to do exceptionally well.

Oh, and one last thing. A good dog must have only one master - so must we. We are not to follow teachers, or preachers, or elders, or any other man or woman. We have one Master, and our attention should be fixed unwaveringly on him. Then we won't be distracted or deflected from his purpose. And as we help and encourage one another, we do well if we remind one another always - 'Look to the King, keep your eyes on his wonderful face, see his love, hear his voice.'

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.

Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
Having "his heart," not our own, is a phrase that is resonating with me, Chris. How does that happen?

I think that some of it has to do with the 30, 60, and 100 fold story in the New Testament. A 30 fold return on investment is pretty darn good.... but it's not "all" there is to be had.

If we want his heart, we've got to give 100% of ours, with no holes barred. Unfortunately, the forces of our human nature and society's constraints around us are 100% opposite to that. Everything seems to work against that work of maturity and complete surrender.

Isn't that why we need each other? To help each other press on to the upward goal, the *prize* .....

which is "his" heart.
Thanks a terrific blog.
14/10/04 @ 04:27

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