The sheepdog story

Several years ago, we were having trouble with our adorable labrador, Hugo.

He was one of those gaze-lovingly-into-your-eyes, chunky-headed, completely loyal, change-your-life kind of dogs. The pet dog I’d always longed for…

When Hugo came into our family, we lived out on the beautiful Cornerstone property in Canowindra. I walked with him every day out on the farm, with a kid or two in a pram. No lead required… he just loped around and always stayed with us.

However, when we moved into town, Hugo didn’t cope at all with the confinement of living inside a fence, and only leaving on a leash. He started to make his own way out – and no matter what we tried, we couldn’t keep him in!

We were at our wits’ end, and one day I was telling a friend about it all, and she said she had an idea that might work. Her friends had had a sheepdog that kept escaping all the time, and they came up with an idea that changed everything. Every day, they put the dog into the yard with the chooks. The dog was completely happy, busily occupied all day with rounding up the chooks!

Somehow the vision of a sheepdog happily (and madly) chasing the chooks spoke deeply to me, right there and then! That was what I was doing… Just running around doing stuff, busying myself with a hundred things that were good to do, or seemed important.

How different is a sheepdog out with the farmer? The farmer gives a single command, and the dog speeds into action… direct dashes effecting excellent results in the paddock, as the dog becomes the outworking of the farmer’s intention. A lot of energy, but all used in the most efficient way, to achieve exactly what is needed.

I want to be like that sheepdog who knows and listens for the master’s voice. Trusting that God is already at work in His world, and learning to join in on what He is doing; rather than madly dashing around doing busy work. The more I learn to wait on Him, the more my prayers and actions are able to be guided by Him, the more I will be free to sense the burdens and the little promptings that the Spirit has for me. Instead of running around chasing the chooks, I want to be able to live in partnership with the One who truly knows and loves those around me, so that He can guide me into lasting and fruitful action.