Have I mentioned we have two dogs? And that one is a herding dog and one is a spaniel? We do. I have opinions on which dog is better and why. So does Tom. It’s not the same opinion. But when we stop comparing who’s dog is best, it’s hard not to admit how much love both of them.
So imagine my surprise when they came up in a sermon last Sunday at church. Not our dogs, someone else’s dogs, also a herding dog and a spaniel. What are the chances? Not sure if you believe in coincidence but I don’t.
A fellow church member filling in for our pastor says,
“I was thinking about my dogs the other day, one was a border collie- super headstrong bred to herd sheep we didn’t have sheep so he chased everything else. Cars, bikes, joggers. The other dog was a spaniel. He spent all day doing nothing.”
I sat up, put the church bulletin down, and wondered why no one else was laughing.
He had my attention, he was talking about my dogs!
He relates that he could spend all day doing nothing too, like his spaniel. Then he mentions a sort of intimidation he sometimes felt just being around the border collie. All that energy, and smarts, and drive to go out and chase sheep.
Our herding dog drives my husband nuts. Kiptyn barks at everything. Our spaniel drives me nuts. He sleeps all day and when I take him to the park (a baseball field behind our house) he won’t play, just sniffs every blade of grass there is.
Of course dogs have good qualities. I secretly love how lazy Beauregard is. The verdict is still out on what Tom loves about Kiptyn, oh wait- I just asked him he said Kiptyn is fun [because he actually plays at the park like a dog should].
The point in church was just that like the way dogs are wired differently since they were bred for different purposes, we are different too- and that’s ok. It’s more than ok, it’s how God intended us to be. That sounds really simple because it is. But there’s a bit more too it.
When we talk about chasing sheep in church, there’s a deeper meaning, even in reference to a border collie. Winning hearts to Christ. Some people are really good at it. To that end it might be easy to say Christian is better off to have tendencies like a border collie rather than a spaniel. But that’s not the case. I’ve been intimidated by border collie type Christians before, so much so that I’ve wondered about doing anything, or helping with anything at church.
To know Christ is to know the highest kind of love. When you know that kind of love, you start to love people. Like really love people in a way you didn’t know how to before. Not in weird way and not in a perfect way but in an honest way, honest in that it doesn’t matter if they are more like a spaniel or a border collie, you just have to love them.
I’ve experience that kind of love for others but I never really thought about the fact that that means my fellow church members, most of whom I never talk to have that love for me. Me in the hot mess that I am. Even the border collie ones. How powerful is that?