Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Neighbor's Dog

I’m looking after my neighbors’ dog so they can go to the beach. I felt a bond with him for a long time. When I water my plants, he barks through the fence. He has me trained to bring the water hose over and let him lap the nozzle. He likes his ears massaged. He’s needy, like there’s no end to ear massaging.

I let him in his master’s house at night and then back out in the morning. I keep his water and food dishes full.
Our friends Mike and Jenny are pet sitting a golden retriever named Mattie. I noticed how Mike would go out in the yard and throw the ball for Mattie. She’s such a smart dog. She runs so fast that she catches the ball before it can hit the ground.

I thought maybe I ought to throw the ball around for the neighbor’s dog. I filled his dish again with water and then stepped out into his backyard. Before I could pick up a ball, he nosed me right in the seat of the pants. I caught my balance, turned around, and scolded him. He reared up and shoved me with his paws. I pointed down and said, “Sit!” He reared up on me again, dominating me. We were never going to have any fun throwing the ball, so I thought I’d teach him to at least sit. He refused. He kept shoving me around and nipping at my hand.

The difference between my neighbor’s dog and Mattie is the difference in how they were trained but also in how they responded. Whether indoors our outside, Mattie is a pleasure to be around. From the start, Mattie’s owner was paying attention to her. She wasn’t allowed to dominate the owner. She went from obedience to expressing her natural gifts. When she jumps in the air, tail twirling, feet poised perfectly for the landing, you think she’s flying.

I wonder which dog I’m like to God. Do I respond as soon as he calls? Do I live to sit at his feet or do I run around like mad wanting him to do things my way? Do I give him pleasure or do I trouble him? Am I using my natural gifts to serve His Body? Have I learned to fly?