“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” Philippians 3:1
The other night (or I guess it was really morning as it was closer to 2am) I took the dogs outside for the final time before bed — I usually work late into the night or early morning.
As I often do, I stood on the deck and watched them, enjoying the solitude as they did their business and wandered through the yard for a few minutes.
But this time it was different. One of them, I think it was Bristol, started growling, barking and tore off into the vast blackness that is our backyard in the middle of the night.
The other two followed, neither one of them really knowing why, what they were after, or where they were going.
As they tore through the yard, mindlessly barking, growling and ready to “get it” — whatever it was — I watched and laughed as a large rabbit ran right past them headed in the other direction.
To my astonishment, not one of the “hunters” even saw the rabbit.
Bristol was too intent on heading wherever she was going (she may be pretty and friendly, but Bristol isn’t our brightest). The other two were far too intent on following Bristol, the barking dog.
So, rather than turn and chase the rabbit they all ran to the back fence and stood there in bewilderment wondering just what it was they were pursuing.
None of them even saw the rabbit.
They missed the real prey because they were too focused on chasing a barking dog.
In politics, the field I’ve worked in my whole life, I see this happen on an almost daily basis.
Candidates spend valuable time responding to unfounded (and largely unnoticed) attacks, speaking to groups that will NEVER support them, and responding to (gasp) nasty comments on social media.
In short, they spend their time, their staff’s time, and the campaign’s resources chasing dozens of barking dogs, rather than doing what they should be doing; namely raising money and winning votes.
For Christians, it is not much different.
We spend far too much time debating the finer points of theology among fellow Christians, looking down on and gossiping about those “sinners” who don’t agree with our interpretation of scripture, and in general letting “life” get in the way of doing what we have been commanded to do — love one another as He loved us. (Matthew 22:37-40)
We should instead be spending our limited time spreading the good news of the Gospel with those who need to hear it most (many times they are the same people we look down on), reading and studying the word of God, praying, and serving.
We all fall victim to our own barking dogs.
“Sometimes you have to understand that you push ahead, there’s going to be a lot of flak, there’s going to be a lot of dogs barking, but the wagon train moves ahead.” Juan Williams
We must remember to keep our eyes squarely on the Lord and chase only Him. He will never lead us astray.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2