Of Distracting Odors and Exhilarating Sights

You can learn a lot from your dog.

Our golden retriever, Salida, is a people pleaser. Her only motivation is to know that what she is doing pleases you. She's actually a pretty amazing dog!


Except when she forgets we exist!

And unfortunately, her memory isn't very long.

Or maybe it is her concentration that is poor. I'm not sure. But whatever it is, the minute something new catches her attention, she forgets that we walk the face of the earth.

The distractions come in many forms. Often then are odors, or "scents" as they are called in the dog world. They can also be visual, such as the sight of a wild turkey or a cat, and they can be auditory as well, such as a call or whistle, or perhaps the chatter of a squirrel.

Take the "come" command, for example. When Salida has her eyes on me, I have no problems with her. As soon as the word is out of my mouth, she comes running. Until her nose catches a particular odor that MUST be sniffed, that is. Then nothing will make her come. Or maybe the distracter is another dog, in which case, she doesn't stop running, she simply changes her direction. It is safe to say that until she once again focuses her attention on me, I have lost her completely.

Naturally, in such times, our runs cannot progress and precious time is wasted.

I might be tempted to get aggravated at her (and I have succumbed to that temptation on many occasions!), but I have to admit that she is no different than I am!

Just as she loves me, her mistress, and wants to please me, I love Jesus and want to please Him. And as long as my attention is fixed on Jesus, there is no problem! But I am also easily distracted, and my distractions come in many forms as well. Some are temptations, some bear the label of "pride" or "selfishness", and some come in even more coy packages such as self-advancement, even ambition. Still other distractions come by focusing too much on circumstance, and others may include addictions or just plain "having fun".

Now, my distractions may not seem as silly as smelling that particular spot on the post, or seeing a squirrel in a tree; but they are still distracters. They still take my mind off of Jesus, they make me stop depending upon Him, and sometimes they make me forget that He even exists.

Just imagine what God could accomplish through us if we didn't waste so much time on petty distractions! It isn't for nothing that we are told:

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." (Phil 3: 13-16 NIV)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:1,2)

The next time you are tempted to be aggravated by a dog who thinks that a scent is more important than obedience, let it remind you of something in your life that is keeping your focus away from Jesus!

Lyn Chaffart

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