Teaching old dogs new tricks

Teaching old dogs new tricks

Visiting a friend’s home the other day, I witnessed something that I’m not sure I will ever forget. The family had a new, furry puppy, and who doesn’t love seeing a little fellow run and play, attempt to chase his own tail, pounce on a small rubber ball, and try to mimic the big dogs in the house? This pup’s little legs were very short and he was plump, but boy, did he get around on the hardwood floors. He often skidded to a stop just before bumping into a piece of furniture or the doorframe.

There was an older dog in the home, too. The adult dog, along with his humans and myself, were on the bottom floor looking at some items when someone noticed the little fellow sitting ever so cautiously at the top of the steps. He obviously wanted to come down where we were, but those tall, wooden stairs were intimidating. He seemed to be considering whether his little short, legs could take him down those big, brown steps. He put one paw out timidly, down toward the first step, but immediately drew it back.

The older dog watched along with us for a few minutes, and then he calmly made his way up the stairs. He seemed to be showing the puppy how he could put one paw down, the other, balance, and head down the steps. The pup wasn’t having any of it. He was just fine on the top of the stairs where he was safe and secure. The fun downstairs was drawing his attention, but he wouldn’t try it for a while. Finally, the older dog seemed to get behind him and give a gentle nudge to get him started. The little fellow tentatively started down the stairs ever so slowly. He made it to the bottom and before the afternoon was over, he was scampering up and down as fast as his little legs would allow.

I hope I never forget this illustration and what God allowed me to see. I believe that there are a lot of good Christians in the same position as the little puppy. They want to share the Gospel with others. They want to tell what God has done in their life, but they are afraid to take that first step. “What if the person we speak to should laugh?” “What if the person we choose to talk with becomes offended?” “And, heaven forbid, what if they ask a question we cannot answer?”

I have good news today. We do not go alone when we go on behalf of the Lord. We are taught in Scripture that the dear Holy Spirit of God, the third member of the Trinity, goes before us and works in the hearts of those we may speak to, He goes with us when we go, and He remains after we have left. My pastor often called it the grand slam of witnessing. It is difficult to take that first step, to choose someone we want to reach and then to make it happen. I can remember knocking on doors for my church and standing on the porch praying silently, “Lord, please don’t let them be home tonight. I know they don’t want to be bothered.” I soon got over that fear and looked forward to answering questions and giving out Scripture. We met so many with hurting hearts that just needed a friend.

Why don’t we each make a plan to share the Gospel, the Good News, with someone else, or many other someones? We simply need to pray, present ourselves attractively, and be earnest in our desire. God will do the rest. If we do not know Scripture by memory, we can simply relate what God has done in our own heart, what He has done in our family, our church or our business, and we can be sincere. There are hurting hearts everywhere, and pain is no respecter of persons. Reach out and give this gift to others.

Before long, we will find ourselves scampering to get the Gospel to others because, like the little doggie, we learn we have a partner in the Holy Spirit. We do not go alone.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788.