In our years of pet ownership, my husband and I have developed our own dog ranking system, partially in jest and partly because… well, partly because. In order, the hierarchy is:
- Good Dog
- Has Potential
- Bad Dog
Allow me to embellish.
This is Mayumi:
Mayumi is a Good Dog.
Most of the time, she is very obedient… with occasional exceptions, usually because I haven’t given her adequate exercise. When small children are over, she is gentle and submissive. As for tricks, she can jump through hoops, sit, stay, high-five with alternating paws, close the door (well, sometimes), and play dead.
As a puppy, she would only quiet at night if she could see me. Overall, she is my loyal companion who follows me from room to room and generally wants to be near me. She is calm and can be trusted with people of all ages and animals of all sizes. I love this dog!
Chestnut Has Potential.
For the most part, he is obedient (occasionally even surpassing Mayumi in coming when called), but he does lack self-control. He adores people, often rather exuberantly in wild, oafish boundings and clumsy gyrations that threaten the vertical stability of moderately sized humans. Chestnut also has trouble holding his licker and frequently leaves slobber trails on… well, everything.
Due to his… enthusiasm… we crate him when small children or elderly people are visiting. Not all furry things that enter our yard survive except the three skunks that got him first (really, three times !!!).
My husband and I joke that his tombstone will read RIP Chestnut: He Had Potential.
I have no pictures of Sable, but she was aptly named. Sable was a Bad Dog.
In the few weeks she lived here, she managed to frighten the children (who were still very young), lose all off-leash privileges in the house, and made me rue the day I first saw her. One rare occasion when she was allowed off the leash in our yard, she attacked me. Fortunately, I had some training in judo and her challenge went rather badly for her while I was angry but unhurt. Sable became a junkyard dog.
…And this is our Miscreant thinning the herd of origami reindeer given us by the talented Mr. Leonard Gluck.:
But he’s in a different class entirely.
Before I came to know and love the Most High, I was as dark-hearted as Sable, a miscreant in an altogether separate category – an aimless and nameless wastrel.
Can I even express how grateful this repentant reprobate is to the King who expunged her record of lawlessness by sentencing Himself to death in my stead? Can I find words for my awe that He did not stop there, but took up His life again? No, words fail.
Where I deserved a pitiless death, I received mercy… and yet He did not stop there. With grace beyond my wildest reckoning, He called this waif, “Daughter, ” lavished upon me a spiritual inheritance of inestimable value, and has brought light and life to all that was deadened and darkened within me.
My Lord and my God! May the wonder of it never cease to astonish me!
If my God is truly powerful; if His grace is truly sufficient; if I believe that fullness of joy is found in His presence – in short, if He is truly all He says He is – my life ought to reflect nothing short of complete devotion and steadfast loyalty to Him.
Where He is, I want to be. When He commands, I want to obey, and though I may slip up from time to time, overall I want to be fully His, wholly trusting Him and trusted by Him around people of all ages.
May I never be a casual partaker of Grace, giving the Almighty a perfunctory nod as I tuck His gift carelessly in a pocket while asking Him to bless my self-determined course.
In short, I do not want to a disciple who merely Has Potential…
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.