Monday, May 31, 2004
I never voted to have a dog in our house. I think they sneaked her in when I was on a trip or something, but we got one. Her name was Missy, a Shih-Tzu, and the last time she went to this dog care place, they actually registered her as "Missy Hutchcraft." Now, that is my last name. There is no family resemblance here, and I'm not sure I want to give her my last name. But I do confess that I think Missy taught me something that I might never have understood without her. I hope she's not listening. I would hate to admit this in front of her. Well, see, it was never hard to find Missy when our son was home. He was her master, so when he is at college, you never knew where you would find her in the house, but when he's home, oh, it was easy. When you have found our son, you had found Missy. He's in the living room - she's in the living room. He's in the basement - Missy's in the basement. Our son's in his room, Missy is in his room. Missy doesn't care where she is as long as she's with her master.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Dog Walking."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Joshua, chapter 14, and spotlights an ancient hero named Caleb. When the ancient Jewish people had come to the border of the land God had promised them, Moses sent twelve spies in, and ten came back and said, "Giants, walled cities - no way we can take it." Two came back, Joshua and Caleb and said, "Let's go for it, we've got God." Ten saw how big the giants were instead of how big their God was. Well, they got to wander for forty years in the wilderness as a result of that, and a whole generation of unbelieving adults didn't get to go to the Promised Land. Forty years later, though, the Jews have conquered it under General Joshua, and Caleb and Joshua do get to go in because they believed they could. And though Caleb is now 85 years old, he's still a tiger for God. Or better yet, he's a dog. That's actually what Caleb means - dog. Hey, that's a great name when you understand why.
In Joshua 14:7, the 85-year-old man says, "I was 40 years old when Moses sent me to explore the land, and I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God, wholeheartedly." Later in the chapter it says, "You Caleb, have followed the Lord your God wholeheartedly." It says one more time, later in the chapter that he "wholly followed the Lord all the days he lived." Good dog, huh? What a tribute! What an epitaph! I'd love it on my tombstone: "He followed the Lord his God, wholeheartedly." Caleb is God's puppy dog. He doesn't care where he goes, he just wants to know where his Master is going, and he will follow Him there - even if there's giants there!
That's what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 12:26, "Whoever serves Me, must follow Me so that where I am my servant will be." See, if you love Jesus, you don't plan your life. You pray, you listen, you look to his Word to find out where He's headed. Where He's headed in your day, where He's headed with your family, with that relationship, with your ministry, with your child. And then you just go right there behind Him.
Now Missy let our son's steps determine hers. She followed him wholeheartedly. That's what you are supposed to do with Jesus. Caleb wouldn't let anything lose his Master's lead - not years in the wilderness, not hardship, not giants, not waiting a long time for what God had promised, not being nearly the only one standing up for what was right. He just said, "I'll follow my Lord. I'll follow my Lord, no matter where this takes me." You've just got to find out where Jesus is going and go with Him there.
I hate to say it, but I want to be like Missy, or maybe more like Caleb, not caring where I end up, as long as I'm right on the heels of my Master.