By Gary Miller
Have you ever seen a dog “work?” I mean have you ever seen a dog in the woods point a grouse or a pheasant? It is truly an amazing sight. They pick up the smell, follow it to the bird, stand still with tail extended and one front foot in the air until the bird flies or until you get there to kick it up. Dogs and hunting go hand in hand for many outdoorsmen. To them a good dog is more important than a good gun. They spend time training and coaching. Some even pay lots of money to send their dog away to someone who specializes in getting it ready to hunt. I love seeing a good dog work.
My experiences with my own hunting dogs, as a young adult, were not quite the same. Mine was more of a religious experience. That is, I about lost my religion every time I tried to train a dog to hunt. Since I never had any “learnin” when it comes to training dogs, I use to try whatever seemed good to me at the time. I have tied long ropes to hold them, carried feathers from dead grouse to let them know what we’re looking for, and have even carried with me a handful of treats to reward them when they did well. It seems, however, the only thing that worked and the only thing that gave me satisfaction was to unload a 12-gauge 7 shot in their behind. (I feel better just talking about it) Now before you call PETA or the Humane Society, I just want you to know that I have never shot a good dog! (Okay, I really never shot a bad one either). There is one thing however that I never doubted about any dog that I have ever owned, and that is, they all wanted to please me. And knowing that made me love every one of them even when they failed.
Friend God is not interested in the quality of your performance. He knows the best you can do is dreadfully lacking. The reason it lacks is because perfection is the only standard. Instead God looks at the heart. This doesn’t mean that sincerity trumps all things but it means that once a person has decided to become a follower of Christ, he or she now is not judged on the quality of one’s performance but on one’s simple heartfelt desire to do be pleasing to the One who calls you His own.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org