This week my youngest daughter tried to take our sausage dog Carrie for a walk, without me because I was busy with laundry. Carrie loves to walk and gets all excited at the prospect. Hannah got her leash and put on her collar, and then kept calling her as she left the house. The dog was all ready to go, got as far as getting out the door and then realised I wasn’t coming with.
She promptly turned around and stood at the screen door waiting for me to let her back inside. Without me, Carrie wasn’t going anywhere. Even the prospect of meeting doggie friends and smelling interesting odours, wasn’t temptation enough to get her to leave me behind.
It reminded me of that passage in John 10, where Jesus talks about being the good shepherd of the sheep. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out … and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (verses 3-5)
Now Hannah is no stranger to Carrie, but still the dog doesn’t trust her enough to follow her, rather than me. It makes me confident that a real stranger would never be able to lure Carrie away. Carrie knows who her true master is. She knows my voice and follows it.
Would that I were as loyal to Jesus and clear about my priorities, so that I don’t get waylaid by pursuits – even by good, fun, familiar things – that God isn’t part of or wanting me to do at that time.
It reminds me not to get complacent. Christianity is an ongoing walk of obedience. We need to keep in constant touch with God – speaking to Him (praying) and listening for His direction (reading the Bible). Then we will know where He is leading us right now and not get distracted. Also, knowing God’s voice means that we won’t be fooled by the voice of that “dog-napper of our souls”, Satan.