Monday, July 21, 2014

Walking with the Dogs

A few weeks ago, I bought one of those new bracelet/bands that count your steps and monitor your sleep. My goal is 10,000 steps per day. It turns out that 10,000 steps per day is a little harder than I imagined. Most days, I easily get in just over 5000 steps per day. Getting 10,000 steps a day requires intention and perseverance.  

Almost every evening, I finish supper, check my step monitor for the day, realize how short I am, and hit the road up to the barn and back.  It takes quite a few roundtrips to finish up the 10,000 steps. Nearly every time I walk, the dogs go with me, but I've been surprised at the difference in their walking styles.  

Maggie the Wonder Dog quickly figured out that there was likely to be more than one trip to the barn. She makes every step with me the first time around, but the second time around she begins to slow. She will still walk with me, but she doesn't quite get to the end before she turns back. By that time, she's getting distracted. There's a bird in the sky to see, grass to sniff, cows at which to bark.  This walking back-and-forth bores Maggie, and she will only tolerate it for a limited time before she has to take a break. She always joins back up, but I can count on her to be intermittent at best.

Mamie the Apprentice Wonder Puppy, however, is another story entirely.  Mamie tries hard to make every step, at least for the first few laps. I can't imagine how many steps those short little legs have to make to keep up with me, but she does it. Mamie doesn't take shortcuts, either. She walks all the way to the end before she turns around. Even more amazing, Mamie wants to run in circles, with me as the hub of her circle. She will run over Maggie, give her a quick lick and tumble, and start out with me again. She doesn't stop until she's panting so hard that she's got to cool down, unless I stop first.

The walk of faith with Jesus is sometimes like this isn't?  Most of us start out with enthusiasm and high hopes of finishing the trek. We do pretty well at the beginning, but some of us are a lot like Maggie, quickly distracted and easily turned back. We lose something, though, in not completing the whole path, and the most important thing we lose is time with the Master. 

Wouldn't it be much better to walk out our faith with Jesus the way Mamie does with me? She starts with enthusiasm, she continues with enthusiasm, and she ends with enthusiasm. Mamie has a grand time on our walks, and I have a grand time watching her. She has figured out that when she's tired, her master will pick her up and snuggle her close.  Mamie knows that, when she wears out, she can count on me to carry her all the way home, even if it means carrying her for a whole lap or two to do it.

Now that is the kind of Christian faith walk we should have: starting, continuing, and finishing with enthusiasm, even when it's hard, even when we're tired. There's a promise that goes with this kind of faith walking. You have probably heard it before.

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (Isaiah 40:11 NASB)

Keep following the Shepherd, dear ones, without distraction or delay, trusting in the promise that, when you most need it, He will scoop you up, hug you close, and carry you the rest of the way. What could possibly be better than that?