© 2016 Lynn Abbott
My son tells me that when I am away, it is nearly impossible to draw my 90 pound Labradoodle, aka Bentley, away from his post by the door.
Although Bentley might be momentarily distracted if offered a treat, my faithful companion quickly catches himself. He glances back at the door and abandons the bribe.
So great is Bentley’s love for me. Indeed, not only did I select Bentley and adopt him as part of my family, but Bentley responded in love. He accepted me as his master.
Because I enjoy spending time with him, I am never harsh or unreasonable. While I ask Bentley to follow my lead, I always intend his best. I work on his behalf.
All that I do for Bentley I do in love.
And his life is good. I sincerely doubt that he ever finds following his master to be a hardship.
Because Bentley obeys my commands, he enjoys great freedom. Even when I am away, he may wander without restraint throughout my home.
Under my care, he is safe, protected…even in the midst of summer’s dog-terrifying thunderstorms.
Clearly, I love my dog; I want what is best for him.
And Bentley knows my voice; he trusts me.
Although I am only an imperfect, human master, Bentley eagerly awaits my homecoming.
All that I do for Bentley I do in love.
He listens for the rumble of my Jeep. He recognizes the click of the key in the entry door.
He may rest while I am absent; nevertheless, he remains alert.
Thus, when I come home after a long day, I must push past the ecstatic pup that stands, nose to the door, and wags his body in absolute delight.
I smile to think of it.
Without a doubt, I also look for my Master’s return.
Jesus described such anticipation in His parable recorded in Matthew 25. Ten brides waited for their groom. Five were foolish and five wise. The foolish did not bring oil for their lamps; however, the wise prepared.
Jesus told his listeners that all the brides became sleepy, and dozed off. At midnight, a call came, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
The unprepared begged the wise to share their oil. But the prepared said, “…there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves,” (Matthew 25:9).
And the unprepared missed their groom. Five were focused; five were distracted.
Jesus concluded His teaching with this simple application, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day or the hour,” (Matthew 25:13).
Yes, the Savior has adopted me into His family. If I follow the example of the wise brides, I will prepare for His return. In devotion similar to that demonstrated by my beloved pup, I will eschew distractions and choose to watch for my Sovereign-Shepherd.
Grace invites us to follow the One whose love is greater than any other.
Joshua puts it another way. He said, “…choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…” (Joshua 25:15).
Choose. That’s right: grace doesn’t require that we serve the Sovereign God, the great I AM, (John 8:58).
Instead, Grace invites us to follow the One whose love is greater than any other.
Jesus promised, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matthew 11:29a)
Of course, as we follow Jesus, we may encounter difficult roads; even so, following our omnipotent, loving Savior will be no hardship (Matthew 11:30).
After all, He loves us so much more than I love Bentley.
When storm clouds gather, He provides shelter, (Jude 24; Revelation 3:10). In fact, His children have nothing to fear.
And although on occasion, God must gently correct us, such direction is always for our benefit (Hebrews 12:9-11).
He not only enjoys but also longs to spend time with us. Our heavenly Father is gentle and kind.
All that He does for His children, He does in love (1 John 3:1; 4:9).
His sheep know His voice; they trust and follow Him (John 10:27-28). With such a love relationship, is it any wonder that those who have truly chosen Him, watch and wait for their master-bridegroom with eager anticipation?
My dog certainly has taught me a lot. But what I’ve learned about following the Master, our Savior-God, means most to me.
And each day I pray that I will not only follow the Sovereign-Shepherd,
my Lord and Bridegroom,
my heavenly Father,
the King eternal,
the only wise God…
but that I will also eagerly watch for His return with a steadfast and undivided heart.
“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…” ~John 10:10-11; 14