DayBreaks for 5/01/17: Obedience
From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:
Listen to this story. I don’t know the source of the story, but here it is:
“How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master! Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that’s exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn’t move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word. With tearful eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.”
Galen’s Thoughts: Loyalty. Character. Perseverance. Courage. Faithfulness. These are all words that come to mind. Sounds like a super-hero. And then I have to stop myself and remember that I’m talking about a DOG! But what lessons that dog can teach us!
I’m heart broken by this story for several reasons:
FIRST: I grieve for the dog’s sake. I can’t imagine what it was like – how great the temptation must have been to cut and run through the forest away from the heat and torment of the flames – yet the dog stayed put. I mourn the loss of the dog, but at a deeper level it makes me mourn my own lack of courage in obedience to the one I call my Master.
SECOND: I mourn that I am not more broken hearted by the loss of eternal souls than I am in the loss of the dog. What is wrong with me, with us, when we have deeper feelings about the loss of a dog, albeit a tremendously loyal one, than the lives of those that surround us every day?
FINALLY: I am haunted by the final words of the dog’s master: “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.” What would my Master say about me? Oh, how I wish Jesus could say, “I always had to be careful what I told Galen to do, because I knew he would do it!” Instead, in my fear and weakness, I far too often run from the heat of the struggle into perceived safety. But it is only perceived safety and it certainly isn’t obedience.
The love of the dog’s owner is clear in his tears – he loved his dog. The pride of the owner is clear in his words – he was justifiably proud of the obedience of his dog. I look at Jesus and see his tears for me and I know He loves me with all his heart. I just wish my obedience was loyal enough that Jesus could be proud of me.
PRAYER: Lord, forgive my lack of obedience and loyalty! It seems to take no more than even the slightest distraction to pull me away from you sometimes. Help me to have the kind of character you wish to develop in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.