The rain turned to ice as the sun lowered in the sky. It only took a few moments before the ice clung to his matted fur. With a huff and a whimper, he curled up tighter against the tree trunk. The headlights flashed over him, he tensed, ready to run at the sign of any threat. Without the slight rise of the dog’s head, the driver would never have spotted the stray. The man coaxed, and held out food, the dog rose and bared his teeth…but hunger and need are powerful motivators. Within minutes the man had the dog eating from his hand.
No collar, no answer to the “dog found” posters, nobody claimed the stray. Within days the man had started calling his newfound friend Sozo, and it seemed that the dog approved of the name. Weeks passed by, Sozo settled into his new home. In typical dog fashion, stretched out in front of the fireplace was his second favorite spot…standing over his full food bowl ranked his favorite – without any doubt.
One day as the man stepped outside, Sozo bolted through the open door. Tail high in the air he ran down the street – momentarily deaf to the man’s calls. Sozo romped through the neighborhood and beyond. He approached those that were friendly but found others that weren’t. The nights turned cold again. Sozo missed the warmth of the fire. Sozo took a few days to find his way back. The man opened the door, letting the cold, muddy dog back into the house. Within an hour the man had Sozo cleaned up, and fed. Sozo’s tail thumped the floor a few times while stretched out in front of the fire.
A few days later the man reached over to pet Sozo. With a growl, the dog lunged and sunk his teeth into the man’s hand. With a soft voice, the man soothed Sozo’s fears, and the dog returned to laying in front of the fireplace – oblivious to the damage he had caused.
The man’s neighbor’s hated him having a new pet. To hurt the man, the neighbor threw poisoned meat over the fence. The man saw what his neighbor did and reached the meat first. Growls and snarling made it clear how Sozo viewed things. Another bite, a few stitches. When the man came back from the ER…he also came back with a treat for Sozo. The dog gobbled it up…and went back to enjoying the fire.
A few more escapes, a few open doors, and baths. Then there was the day Sozo bolted out of the front door and scampered down the driveway. He stopped, turned around and bounded back to the man – tail wagging, ready to play. A few rounds of fetch later found Sozo snoozing in front of the fire. He may not have thought of his position as home and safety – but however a dog thinks of these things…he knew. Sozo belonged to his master, and his master would keep him safe.
He no longer had to worry about the future. Love, warmth, protection, peace were his. Someone loved him, he was wanted. He was Sozo…
Points to ponder…
Have you run away from your Master?
Do you realize He’s still waiting for you to return?
Have you been angry with Him…lashed out, shut Him out, closed up, stopped worshipping/serving?
Do you realize He’s still taking care of you?
Have you ever thought about the protection and love He shows you?
Have you surrendered to Him as Master? Or are you still trying to do it your way? (Even if the nights are freezing.)
Do you live your life as one who knows they are Sozo? (Sozo – Greek for saved)
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. (John 13:13 ESV)
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 ESV)
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:8-10 ESV)
(P.S. – The dog pictured is Norm…it wasn’t his behavior that inspired this parable.)