I went on a really long walk Saturday and chanced upon a Dock Dogs competition in a shopping center near us. I love watching these athletic dogs leap off a dock and fly through the air. The dog in the photo above flew 23 feet before splash down.
Enthralled, I sat down to watch. I'd already walked seven miles, and was tired anyway. What a wonderful place to rest my weary feet. I bought a snack and munched while enjoying the sun and watching the dogs. Many people I knew meandered by and stopped to chat. It was a lovely, cool afternoon under Carolina blue skies.
I love the little surprises that God brings to uplift and encourage me on my journey. The dogs had varying levels of skill, from rank beginners to expert competitors. The new dogs mostly approached the water tentatively. They didn't quite trust their master that jumping off the dock was safe. They sniffed, pawed at the water, and some would eventually plop in, swim briefly, and scramble out.
The experienced dock dogs went all in. With evident love of their master and desire to please him, they ran at full throttle down the length of the dock, and then sailed through the air, stretching forward, paws running as though the air itself were a solid track. Every ounce of their being was determined to remain airborne as long as possible.
Their efforts reminded me of a quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“The Christian should work as if all depended upon him, and pray as if it all depended upon God.”
When I was a brand new Christian, I was as tentative as the newbie dock dogs. I thought that I had to memorize the entire Bible before I could begin to walk anyone else to the Lord. I thought my life had to be perfect, so I wouldn't destroy my witness. I thought I had to study several years worth of Apologetics to be able to convince anyone that my God was worth following.
That is all good and useful; don't get me wrong. I should indeed prepare myself as best I can to do whatever God has called me to do. First and foremost, He has called me to be His ambassador and share the Gospel to as many people as I can.
However, I am not required to do it on my own power. I love what Spurgeon said. I must give my all, and be completely spent to the limit of my capability in working for God, but I must never forget that I will never be sufficient. However, God is. I may not be able to 'jump' as far for God as other Christians, but I am only required to do the best I can do at the time I am asked to do it. God will do the rest.
I don't know why the dock dogs brought those thoughts to mind, but they did, soaring through the air as far as they could at the word of their master with an overwhelming desire to please him.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.