Sheep and dogs

Sheep are used as a metaphor for humans multiple times in the Bible. Jesus refers to himself as the Shepherd. In Psalms it says “All we like sheep have gone astray”. I get that. I’ve raised sheep. There are many parallels between sheep mentality and human mentality. Some events this week, however, caused me to hypothesize that in some ways we relate to Jesus the same way our dogs react to us.

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I am in no way comparing myself to God nor am I claiming that this is an extra-Biblical revelation. These are simply some stories that made me laugh and think this week.

So our dog, Rory, is probably the goofiest dog ever. He is seventy pounds of energy and joy wrapped up in a hairy package too small to contain it all. He makes me smile every day. We joke that he doesn’t “dog” well (you know all those hilarious home dog videos you see, like an owner tosses a ball in the air and it hits the dog in the face? Yeah, all those probably happened at some point in Rory’s life).

For example, this week Rory and I were on a run with my roommate, Loren. She is much faster than me, so Rory and I were huffing along trying to stay up with her. Rory got distracted by another dog, and I realized it too late. Rory ran head first into a tree. Loren didn’t realize for a second and turned around to find me laughing and Rory looking just the same as he normally does (with a goofy smile and somewhat clueless, yet excited). Poor dog. He got so excited about his surroundings that he lost focus on what was important. He ran smack dab into a pretty obvious obstacle. Our goal, as Christians, should be for God’s glory all the time. We get distracted by our own ambitions and dreams. That is when we run into obstacles, sometimes obvious ones, like a tree.

A couple of days after running into the tree I had my friends over to celebrate a birthday. I made delicious spicy shrimp pasta. We were eating at the dining room table and the extra pasta was in a dish on the stove. At one point, my friend looks over and sees Rory eating out of my pasta dish. I chased him, grabbed him, and put him in his crate. He knew he was in so much trouble! Rather than throw the food away immediately (as I should have), I went back to the table to eat. After an adequate amount of time, I let Rory out. He went right back to the pasta! This time I only had to yell his name and walk towards him for him to run into his crate with his tail between his legs. We repeated this routine one more time. Rory practically put himself in the crate this time. I was so frustrated! He clearly knew it was wrong for him to eat out of the pasta dish on the stove.

How often do we do the same thing? We go to our pet sin, get caught and punished, then go right back when we think no one is looking. We know it’s wrong just like Rory knew it was wrong to eat the pasta. We get our punishment, conviction, whatever it may be, then we go back to our sin, or a new appealing sin. This is the opposite of true repentance. This is a dreadful cycle.

For me, it is pride and anxiety. I believe I can do everything on my own power, and I also worry endlessly about the outcome. There have been many times in my life God has taught me about how he has ultimate control of all things. If I truly believed that, my pride and anxiety would be non-issues.

This week, I am praying for God to cause the lessons he has taught me to stick. I am praying for true repentance from my pride. I am thanking God for teaching me through everyday activities of my goofy dog.

That’s it for now,

Beth Goff


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