Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion June 13, 2018

Greetings!
I have this little dog named Rocky.  I often figured I should have named him Calvin or Luther because he was dropped off at a church I served so he was a church dog and a church leader name would have been very appropriate.  
But at the time he was really tiny and had this mask like a raccoon and so the song ‘Rocky Racoon’ came into my mind and well that is how he has his name.
During subsequent visits to the vet we tried to figure out what kind of dog Rocky was….  and it turned out he was a ‘Cheagle’ which is a combination of a Beagle and a Chihuahua.  Now, he is a sweet little dog and can be very affectionate, but like all breeds of dogs there are specific characteristics which make the dog who they are and which dictate in large part how they act.  
So Beagles are scent hounds which mean they like to seek their prey by smelling.  You have all seen Beagles with their noses to the ground just traveling as fast as they can as they follow that smell where it might go and hopefully that smell will lead them to what they think it will.  
Which means the Beagle part of Rocky leads him to have his nose down on the ground as he goes after whatever it is that he thinks he is smelling. This has gotten him into trouble several times when he has escaped the compound (he has a huge fenced in yard) in pursuit of some unknown entity that evidently has left a trail smell.  Normally he will come back when you call but you have to call several times because this dog is really focused and to distract him from his odiferous quarry is sometimes extremely difficult.
And then, Rocky is also a Chihuahua and Chihuahua’s are also known as ‘ratters’.  A ‘ratter’ is a dog that goes after rats.  A useful skill to have since no one likes rats.  
Now we don’t have any rats so I wonder if the Chihuahua side of Rocky is a little frustrated but he does substitute his ratting nature by going after sometime that is under ground in our yard.  
There was this one day when I went outside and there was a trench dug from the back of our house, all the way across the yard to the back fence.  I’m no good at guessing distances but I can tell you that is quite a good way.  I watched as Rocky would dig a little bit, stick his nose in as far as he could, dig some more, stick in his nose and this continued all the way across the yard. I wondered if I could harness this somehow and rent him out as a ditch witch.......
We took him camping a couple weeks ago and he did the same thing in a circle around a tree and we were jokingly wondering if he would fell the tree (and maybe there was a tinge of worry in our minds because he really dug a circle around that tree!)  Who knows what may have lurked in that ground at one time. 
The other Chihuahua characteristic that Rocky exhibits is the typical Chihuahua “I am going to eat you in one bite” bark of the Chihuahua whenever unknown people are around. And sometimes known people.  Rocky can see me through my office window occasionally and it sets off a maelstrom of vicious sounding barking that would scare off Ivan the Terrible.  
What it brought to mind is the concept of instinct.  No one taught Rocky to put his nose to the ground and follow whatever being left a smell behind.  No one taught Rocky to dig after unknown critters underground.  No one taught Rocky to bark at whatever happened to move within his vision.  Rocky just grew up and did these things.  He didn’t think about it; he didn’t practice; he didn’t spend hours in training on how to be a Chihuahua/Beagle doggie.  He just was a Cheagle and did Cheagle activities, all on his own.
And that is how we are to think about ourselves as children of God.  We are children of God.  It is part of who we are and how we live and what we do. 
Now we may have to work at it a little harder than dogs do; we may have to be more intentional in thinking of ourselves as God’s.  But if we do, and if we steep ourselves in the things of God, our instincts to do what God has directed us to do will kick in just like a Beagle on a trail. 
God has given us this inner need for him and that inner need to please him and that instinct to do what God calls us to do.  But unlike the natural inclination of the Chihuahua, we have to make a conscious effort to direct ourselves on the correct path.  God will help us do that of course, but it is like a little switch we need to turn on inside ourselves that says, “OK, I’m going to live as a Child of God”.  And once we do that, we will find ourselves digging a trench across the yard fulfilling the yearning God has put inside of each of us to be his.
So stand up and say, “I’m a child of God” and head out on the scent of living as God’s!
Amen!