About four years ago, our family adopted a Yorkshire terrier mix named Stetson (pictured here) from a rescue center. In many ways he has completed our family with loyalty, unconditional love, and obedience. However, he tends to obey my voice. I have taken on the role of his master since I feed him, walk him, take him to the vet, etc.
One evening, I came down with the flu, the kind that knocks you off your feet. At night, I routinely let Stetson outside before he goes to sleep. Since I was ill, my daughter and husband took over. I heard my daughter trying to lure him inside, and then I heard my husband calling his name. To no avail.
Stetson relentlessly barked at the dog over the fence, which in turn produced a woof-woof in response, and it became one eternal round. The decibel levels crept higher. Our little canine entered a contest to see who could bark the loudest. In my opinion, Stetson took gold with the high-pitched bark known to his breed, while the other dog’s bark was deep and low. In musical terms, Stetson is a soprano hitting the high notes, and the other dog is a baritone with a deep voice making the ground vibrate.
Finally, my daughter and husband enticed Stetson in with a treat. All I need to do is call Stetson’s name once (using my firm “teacher” voice) and he runs in. He has been trained to listen to my voice.
In observing Stetson’s behavior, I thought of the simple parallel of listening to our Master’s voice. Recently our Southwest Area MBA delivered a camp theme, “In Tune.” The Holy Spirit abides with us each day and allows us to hear our Master’s voice as long as we are tuned in. So many times it gives me direction like:
- What material/topics should I prepare for the kids’ Junior Church class?
- Who should I pray for?
- Who needs encouragement?
- What job should I apply for?
- How do I parent a teen and tween with Godly wisdom?
- How do I interpret the scriptures and apply them?
In John 14, Jesus was talking with His disciples as He knew His time on earth was brief. He said this: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
When I am truly listening to my Master’s voice, I am not distracted as Stetson is enamored with barking louder than the dog on the other side of the fence. Does it take a reward for me to listen to my Master’s voice, or do I willingly obey when I don’t know the outcome? Am I listening to the Holy Ghost, which gives me the spiritual direction I need?
This bit of insight helps me focus on the things for which I am quietly praying without expectation of some “treat,” but to know my Heavenly Father is pleased when I listen to His voice, and He is ultimately my Master.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.