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More Wag – Less Bark


I have to confess, I have been burned out.  Tired, frustrated, doubting have been words I would have used to describe my attitude the past few months or so.  Last week, in an effort to heal a hurting spirit, a tired heart, and a beaten soul I went to the place that revives me more than any place else in the world.  The mountains.

Here is where God steps in.  The first day I was on retreat I ventured down the mountains to the little town of Cass, WV.  Home of the Cass Railroad for you tourists out there.  I needed some groceries for the week, was going to hike along the Greenbrier River, and most importantly was going this wonderful little diner for West Virginia Biscuits and Gravy.

It being West Virginia folks are friendly.  Soon this older gentleman started a conversation with me.  I was trying to be polite, but as I had said, I was wounded and not feeling overly social.  He ended up asking me what I did and I told him I was a Lutheran Pastor and I was on a renewal retreat.

He smiled and nodded and said, “I’m a retiring Assembly of God preacher – retiring December 1st and I’ve been coming to these mountains once a year for my retreat.”  We talked about ministry, the joys and sorrows – the hurts and laughs – the love and the apathy.  He then asked if I wanted to hear his favorite sermon.  I really didn’t want to and told him so as nicely as I could.

He laughed and said, “It’s short and it may be what you need.”  Reluctantly I relented and he started telling about this sermon and I will just lay it out for you.

He trained bird dogs as a hobby.  His congregation had been griping at him, about him, to him, against one another – just complaining about everything.  So, on a Sunday he brings in two of his dogs in their kennels.  He brought out a training decoy and the dogs started barking like mad, howling, just going crazy.  He let this go on for 10 minutes or so and then let them out of their crates.  They came out and sat at his feet as he reached into his pocket for a treat, their eyes lit up and their tails started wagging.  He looked at the congregation and said, “Less bark, more wag – y’all may want to try it some time.”

I laughed so hard I almost snarfed coffee out of my nose.  Many of us have been a part of congregations that sermon could be used in – but as I hiked later that day it hit me, he didn’t tell me this to inform me of my ministry – he told me to encourage me to look at my own heart and how much I have been barking at God and how little I have been wagging.

Thanks Preacher Jim


One Comment leave one →
  1. 10October2012 14:02

    Love it. Amazing how God just happened to place the right guy in the right place at the right time…..That God of ours,,,He does work in some pretty amazing ways….

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