As I sit here this morning I look down at my little Nuggett dog , as I call him, as he sleeps under the table while I do my computer stuff. He looks so peaceful and at rest–I just love to watch him sleep.
I’ve been taking a class at Bible Study Cafe for Women called “Pursuing More of Jesus” written by Anne Graham Lotz. We just finished our first week and if you’d like to join in go to the link above. This week we’ve been studying John 10. In John 10:11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” You might be saying, “What does this have to do with watching your dog sleep? I’ll try to explain.
One of my favorite writers is Phillip Keller. He was born in East Africa (1920-2001) and trained in agriculture.In his mid-twenties he purchased a ranch on the southern tip of Vancouver Island where he intended to raise cattle but due to short funds he had to start with sheep. So in starting with sheep he needed a good sheep dog and the best breed for this is the border collie. I love this statement he makes about the sheep.
“I began to wonder seriously why I had allowed myself to be stuck with sheep. Compared to cattle they seemed stupid, frail, vulnerable to diseases and parasites, and easy prey to predators.”
Wow, does that not remind you of us? What an insight he had. It almost sounds like something Jesus could have said to the Father. Maybe, “But Father, these people have so many problems. How am I supposed to be a Good Shepherd to them with all these defects?” Maybe a little stretch because I know He did what the Father told him to do but you know how we humans are–we want to know all the details.
Well, getting back to the sheep dog. In his search for a border collie he answered an add that said, “Wanted–a good country home for pure-bred border collie. Chases cars and bicycles.” Nuggett was like that when I first got him because he had been allowed to wander freely due to a lack of a fence and owner control and after being grazed by a car the owner asked me if I wanted him after he saw my fence while doing some work on my home. At first every time I opened the door he wanted to run away. Now after nine months together when I open the front door and tell him to stay he stays and is out of danger.
So Mr. Keller answers this ad and when he gets there the owner tells him the dog is “loco” and he can’t do anything with her. She was chained in two different ways. A hard thing for me being a dog lover to hear. So in this book called “Lessons From A Sheep Dog” he tells about his episodes with this dog. He changes her name from “Lassie” to “Lass”. He brings her home and has everything there waiting on her. He has the leash, the new dog bowl, and the new water bowl but she wouldn’t eat or drink for days so in desperation he lets her off her leash and she runs off. As he’s trying to find her he’s thinking this: How he desires to redeem her from the mismanagement she had in her life and how he wants to make her a loving, loyal companion and see her rise to the potential that lies dormant in her. Doesn’t that sound exactly like what Jesus desires for us and what can be accomplished when we are obedient to him?
In this search for the dog God speaks this to him.
“God in Christ has come and set people free. He has placed before them the benefits and delights of belonging to His family. He has made available to them His love, His care, His provisions in generous measure. In spite of this, their liberty and freedom is used for selfish ends. They insist on doing their own thing–in their own way–at their own time. They are not under the Master’s control. All the good of which they are capable comes to nothing.”
So not only are we like the sheep that Keller compares to us but we are also a lot like this what he called “mismanaged dog” who had a Master unwilling to give him the love and training he needed to achieve the potential God created his breed to achieve. It’s a beautiful story and Keller tells it eloquently.
So in closing I ask, are you obeying your Master, Jesus, and allowing Him to help you achieve your potential in the Kingdom or are you still trying to run away from your Master because you think you know what’s best for you?
I think sometimes we go back and forth from the mismanaged dog to the obedient dog and in between we’re still sheep. Something to ponder isn’t it? Keller let this dog off of his leash to give him some liberty and then he had to go save her from herself. It was the turning point for their relationship. He had to set the dog free so she would eventually followand obey him and in turn the sheep would respond to both. When we receive salvation we are set free from our old master to receive the love and care of our new Master. Because whether we admit it or not we are following some–one or some-thing.
Well, I must go for today because Nuggett is howling on the back porch with his little red ball lying in front of the door. He knows His master will respond to his need. God bless!
Lessons From A Sheepdog —A True Story of Transforming Love by Phillip Keller. Hodder & Stoughton; illustrated edition edition (July 1, 1995)c o