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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Obedience (01/31/05)

TITLE: Obedience School
By Sandra Fischer


I remember the summer I took our young daughter to the 4-H Obedience School. Of course, the training was not for her but for her new four-footed charge, Katie. This dog had been given us by the owners of a kennel, where we had purchased a puppy. Because Katie was older, our daughter thought she would be a good blue ribbon prospect for the 4-H dog division, so off to Obedience School they went.

The first session in teaching Katie to sit went fairly well. Perhaps she had already known that command, because she responded by tucking her tail and plopping down her haunches. From that point forward, however, Katie seemed oblivious to knowing anything about “Stay” or “Come”. She would either get up and move toward other people or simply remain sitting, while her mistress’ voice would go from an authoritative tone to one of desperate pleading. We wondered whether she was being indifferent, lazy or downright defiant. Week after week we saw no improvement in her willingness to obey anything more than “Sit” and the hope for a blue ribbon vanished.

As I watched the whole process, I considered my own attitude toward obedience.
When God’s will was clear, did I readily respond by doing what He commanded, or did I just “sit” or meander somewhere else pretending that I didn’t hear Him. I thought about
how God must feel when He calls us and we ignore Him. I wondered about the blue ribbon blessings we might be missing by our disobedience. Could it be that I needed a refresher course in obedience training myself? I could learn again about Samuel and how readily he responded to God’s call by saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening”. (I Samuel 3:10b NIV) I might reconsider how Jesus’ mother, Mary replied to the angel when she said, “May it be to me as you have said”. (Luke 1:38b NIV)Oh, there are so many examples I could recall, but the most poignant, the most precious is that one Great Obedience when Christ did what the Father asked by going to the cross and shedding His blood for all our sins. “Yet not my will, but yours be done,” had been His response to the
Father. (Luke 22:42b NIV)

While Katie was struggling with her training, I realized that I was not doing so well myself in the Spiritual Obedience School. We learned that Katie’s problem in making responses was a lack of hearing the commands – she was almost deaf. I, on the other hand, could hear very well, but had chosen either not to listen or not to respond to my Master.

So, while Katie did not learn any “new tricks”, her lack of response was a lesson for me. If I am to follow Christ I need to obey His commands. When He asks me to “sit” or to “stay” or to “come”, I must be ready and willing to act. I need to sit at His feet every day and listen to Him. I need to stay in His Word and abide in His Spirit. I need to come to Him with an open heart ready to respond and receive what He has for me, moment by moment.

I am learning that true obedience begins in the heart and is manifest in my deep desire to please my Master and that while I’m here on earth, school will be in session every day.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss02/08/05
Great article. Sometimes it takes your children or your pets to bring home eternal truths to you. Thanks for sharing.
Linda Germain 02/11/05
I can sure say AMEN to that! Well said.