To Love & To Lead: Staff Discussions

THE OLD MAN AND THE PUPPY

Posted on Jan 21, 2020 by Steve Kelton

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Four months ago, Roger and Kathy’s Brittney Spaniel, Darby had a litter of pups. A few weeks later Roger, on his way home from the vet, brought the puppies to the church to show the preschoolers. A basket full of puppies...hard to imagine anything cuter. That day I began thinking what it would be like to have a dog again. We had dogs growing up and my kids always had a dog but I had never been solely responsible for a dog. With a little help from my friend (Smokey), I got permission to bring one home. Her name is Scout and it wasn’t long after I got her home, God, through Scout began teaching me what it meant to walk in the Spirit.

As Paul tells us in Galatians, the fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Love: God loves us just as we are and Scout’s love for me is much like that. She doesn’t care that she is in a crate while I’m not home. She always wants to play and is never mad at me when I get home.

Joy: Are you kidding me? I am overjoyed when she jumps into my lap for some kind words and a little scratch behind the ears. I know God feels that way too when we climb into His lap to spend our quiet time with Him.

Peace: At first, peace and puppy are words that don’t seem to belong in the same sentence but when she rests after a hard days’ play, we both experience a much needed peace and quiet. I feel a much deeper peace when I let God walk with me through my day.

Patience: If you’ve ever had a puppy, patience does not come easy, at least for me. Bites, scratches, and chewed up socks and underwear...you get the picture. After some time with Scout, I began to think about how often I have “scratched, bitten or torn up” something that belonged to God. These thoughts remind me how often God has forgiven me for my sins and I began to look at Scout’s antics a little differently.

Kindness: Being kind to Scout comes easily to me. After all, she is just being a puppy and her instincts sometimes take over. God made me to walk in kindness and I am slowly learning how to do that with my new friend...and with His help.

Goodness: God’s goodness is seen all around us. Scout doesn’t know how good she is for me...watching her time after time come to me when I’ve turned her away makes me want to turn to God instead of running away.

Faithfulness: After being in her crate all day, she is always ready to spend time with me when I get home. Always! Every day! Having her depend on me for everything gives me no choice but to be faithful and also reminds me of the times I am unfaithful to God.

Gentleness: God is teaching me this by how Scout responds to my actions. If I’m loud and rough with her, that’s what I get in return. If I’m loud and rough with people, that’s usually what I get in return. Being kind and gentle does not always come easy for me, but God is working on that by how Scout responds to these fruits as opposed to how she responds to loud and rough.

Self-control: This, I’m afraid is a work in progress with me. In my life, I have given God many reasons to loose His cool with me but He’s always there to guide me back with His gentle hand. When I go off on Scout, she hangs her head and feels ashamed yet God never causes those feelings when I’ve not walked with Him. He is the Great Teacher of self-control and with His help I am learning to not be so quick to act.

Having a puppy is hard work but very rewarding. Walking in the Spirit is hard work for me but when I am being the man God created me to be and walking with Him, my days are filled with joy and peace.

Thank you, God for creating me in Your image and thank You, God for puppies!

God Bless!



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