Scripture: Matthew 11: 28 – 30
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Come on into where my desk is, and we will visit for a while. I had to call you to do that through our entry door for I did not wish to move from my desk. You see my dog Molly loves to come and place herself under the kneehole of my desk.
Dale has just left for a time, and Molly watched her drive out of the driveway and then she sought comfort from me. Dale spoils her, and certainly I do not! Well, I guess I do too. I love it when she is under my desk in a secure place, and I see her small face looking out into the room. She also has the most appealing way of looking up to you with eyes that seem to be filled with admiration. Be quiet now as you come into the room, and you can see her just where she is. Isn’t she just something special?
To show you just how much Molly has come into our lives, I will have to show you a picture of her both under my desk and her graduation from puppy classes. Yes, you heard correctly – puppy classes. I have definitely found out that when you obtain a puppy you change your life again. Excuse me, but it is just like having another child. Puppies come with a lot of rules, and you had better follow directions.
We have learned in puppy class how to get Molly to sit, how to get Molly to lie down. We have attempted to teach Molly how to stay in one place, and we have been pretty good at teaching her to come when we call her to do so. But my, we have a very long way to go. As she is a puppy, has very sharp teeth and is in the process of having new teeth replace the old, she chews almost anything, and at times, she nips at even us. We warn people as they approach her that she is just a puppy, and she still jumps up and still nips. We ask for those who greet her to be cautious. Of course, we do not allow her to nip, and we scold her when she does.
We have had to give her some oral medicine from a small syringe and did she hate that. I would hold her mouth open, and Dale would squirt in the medicine. Molly would spit it out all over me, on my shoes and jeans. The other night she nipped me pretty good. One of the directions I was given by a dog trainer was to hold her muzzle so she could not nip. Good luck with that! But we know that if Molly is to be socialized with people and other dogs and is to live a good life that she has to be trained and must learn to obey directions. It is up to Dale and to me to follow directions in her training.
Now this pastor was never very good at following directions. Dale is. Whenever Dale cooks, she follows the directions ever so carefully. Some times, she will change them, but she goes line for line when she is baking or preparing some food. As for me – in college I did not follow directions. When I was confronted by an exam, I would panic and would scan the exam and begin to write without really reading the directions. So often I did not receive a good grade because I did not pay attention to the beginning of the test; I just jumped in confused and with little hope for success. I truly believe that would not have been so if I had known Dale in those college days for she would have told me over and over to read the directions, read the directions.
Today when we purchase an appliance or a new television, there all kinds of directions to follow. There are innumerable confusing directions when you put together a piece of furniture made in a country other than America. So often the English directions are not clear for they have been written by a non-English speaking person. If we do not follow the directions in assembling a piece of furniture or in installing a television, we are going to be sorry for our purchase for it will not last or will not function. So follow directions we must.
One time in my ministry, I had a church member and the sexton of the church not read the directions on a smoke bomb. It seems that a classroom in a building that had formerly been a doctor’s office was always cold in the winter. No matter how the sexton tried to figure what was wrong the room remained frigid cold. So he and our Sunday School superintendent purchased a smoke bomb. The bomb was to be placed in the metal chamber of the hot air furnace so when the blower came on the smoke would be blown out into the rooms. If it did not come out the vent in the cold room, they would know that the duct under the floor had been crushed. However, instead of placing the bomb in the furnace chamber, they lit it and placed it in the duct on the floor. The ducts were made of cardboard, and cement had been poured over that cardboard. Of course, when the blower came on, the cardboard began to burn and ignited a fire all under the building and up a wall. In other words, the sexton and the Sunday School superintendent had started a fire in the building that was almost impossible to put out. They did, however, prove that when the building was converted to a doctor’s office, the cement had crushed the duct so that the warm air could not be blown into that frigid room.
Now there was a good thing about this. Our church insurance paid for the repairs, and there was now heat in the cold room. In addition, all the rooms had to be repainted and cleaned from the smoke and soot. However, if they had followed directions, the building would not have caught fire. If Dale and I do not follow directions, Molly will not turn out to be a therapy dog as we wish her to be. We all must at times follow directions.
To be a good Christian, a follower of Jesus, we must follow directions, and he gives us many directions that will lead us to a full and abundant life. He tells us if we are to be happy, then we must follow the Ten Commandments. They are there not to restrict you and make you unhappy; they are there to follow for when you follow them, life will be rewarding and fulfilling. Breaking those commandments brings sadness and sorrow and regret.
Jesus tells us that to be happy we must love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and our neighbors as ourselves. He speaks of greediness and how the love of money does not bring happiness to human beings. Money may bring comfort at times, but it never ever guarantees that you will be happy even if you obtain a fortune.
A paw from under my desk just pressed my foot. We looked down and there is Molly sound asleep. I ask God that Dale and I might raise her as a wonderful friend for us and for others. I know if she is to be an exceptional pup, we must teach her the lessons others have learned before as they have given us the directions for her happiness and ours.
Prayer: Almighty God, we know if we are to be a happy, fulfilled people, we need to follow the directions to life given by our Lord, Jesus Christ. His directions are not arduous to follow. Help us to take “His yoke upon us and learn of Him for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” Inspire us to follow the directions of the Master and grant us then an abundant life; to the glory of His name. Amen,
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”