D E T E R M I N E D T O S U C C E E D
When I was asked to write on the topic “Determined to Succeed” I began to think of the difference between successful and unsuccessful Labradors at hunt competitions. I considered what they all have in common as well as whats makes their outcomes in the competitions so different. As I thought further I realized there is really no different between dogs and men in regards to success and failure. It has to do with how they define success. The dogs and men that define success according to their master’s standards are the one’s who succeed in life.
Allow me to explain. At the higher level hunting competitions, there exists a trial that borders on being the ultimate temptation for a Lab. My dog and I walk to a line while, simultaneously, another master and their dog approaches the same line several feet away. A gun is fire followed by a duck falling several paces away from the dogs. At that moment the masters of these dogs are only permitted to give one command; sit. This may seem simple enough for the dog to obey, but imagine what is going through the dog’s mind. He has been born with an instinct to fetch with great speed and determination. So when a duck falls this close to him with another competition dog right next to him, his muscles tighten. His energy races and his ego is roaring. Their impulses tell them to go and fetch the duck quickly before the other dog beats them to it. Yet in the midst of all these passions pushing them to go he hears my voice; the voice of his master commanding him to sit. If he moves at all he is disqualified. He was asked to glorify his master through obedience and he has failed.
I believe that men and women often find themselves in similar situations. Perhaps it is an opportunity to seemingly succeed at work but it would require questionable ethics. It may also be you have found yourself in a situation to break your marriage vows or merely let your mind wander where our heavenly Father has warned us not to go. In these situations, as well as thousands like them, there is a natural desire to do what seems to be what we want to do. It is there we hear the voice of the master saying, sit.
What ties these two situations together is the motivation behind both the man and the dog who obey. The dog that succeeds is the one who has decided before he has seen the duck fall that he will act according to his master’s standards. Regardless of what happens or his natural yearnings he will obey his master. In the case of men and women, the individuals that succeed are the ones who decide how they will act before they ever reach those moments of temptation. They have decided to obey great words by the master found in the scriptures regardless of what might appear to be the road to worldly success and happiness. Both have gone beyond the need to glorify themselves and are living solely for their masters.
In the end, it is the dog that obeys that brings glory to his master and receives joy in the process. There is no difference for the man or woman who obeys God whom we are made servants by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Hank and the Dogs
P.S. Monk says to remind you that the more he learned to stay, the more freedom he’s earned.