Come When You’re Called

In Chester’s previous life, he was a wanderer, or more accurately, an escape artiste.  I use the French spelling because for him, it was all about l’amour…or l’lust.  He likes the ladies.

So much so that any perceived opportunity to liberate himself from the confines of the yard set in motion a series of rapidly firing synapses.  Although I don’t think the urge to skedaddle originated in his brain.

Under the fence, a partially closed door or, best of all, an open gate.  He could bolt faster and be more determined than a Black Friday shopper at Walmart. Nothing could stand between him and possible hanky panky.

No amount of calling or baiting him with treats proved successful.  His favorite destination was around the corner and down the cul de sac where resides fair mademoiselle.  Apparently she has that certain something.  That je ne sais quoi.  The Shih Tsu Siren.

Chester on the loose.  Showtime.  Guess who’s back again?  He rounds the corner toward her house everything goes slow mo.  Puffs chest.  Begins man strut.  With every step his neck chains slowly swing from side to side.  You can feel 24k Magic in the air.  Head to toe so player.

If said damsel’s garage door is shut then he will wander the cul de sac cruising for mas flickas.  If you can’t be with the one you love…  This has happened so often I can’t count the times strangers have come to our door saying, “Do you have a little white dog?”.  We’re planning a block party for all the neighbors who have snitched on him.

That was then.  Since we decided to relieve him of a couple of relevant body parts our lives have changed.  He is no longer the Lothario of Longmont, yet still embarrasses us occasionally with inappropriate social behavior.

Now our problem is:

He still doesn’t want to come when he’s called, not because of irresistible pheromones, but because he doesn’t want to be told what to do.

Chester may sound like a pain in the patootie, and he is.  But you know, I love him anyway.  A lot.

I heard an interesting lesson recently about the lineage of Jesus.  The genealogical hall of fame, where everyone knows your name.  People like Abraham, David, and Noah.  Although thousands of years later parents are naming their kids after these guys…they had issues.

Adam, ground breaking sinner.  Thought God was holding out on him.  Tree of Life’s just throwing shade on his liberty.  Dug a hole that 113 billion people since have not been able to climb out of.

Noah:  Flush with faith.  Won with a full house. Then after the big game grew himself a vineyard and went down to the felt.  Getting sloshed and humiliating yourself is not something you want to be remembered for.

Abraham:  put his wife’s life and honor in danger twice by telling a half truth to his foreign hosts. This beautiful woman, well, don’t hurt me to get to her.  She’s my sister.  Today we would call that spousal abuse.

David:  Where do I start?  Adultery?  Murder? Abusing his power?  How about this one?  Too violent.  God said ixnay on temple construction for you, bud.  Too many bodies in your wake.   Let’s just say it takes a special kind of person to collect 200 foreskins.  Especially since he only needed 100 to buy his wife.  But, hey, he was on a roll.  One hundred and seventy eight, one hundred and seventy nine…

Solomon:  The man who had everything.  Money.

Wisdom.  Invented the maternity test.

He was a writer, botanist, master architect, spiritual leader, artist, diplomat, military leader, and the richest man who ever lived.  He was the Renaissance Man before there ever was one.

Yet he had a downfall.  Wives.  If one was good, two was better.

If two are better, then how about 700 and 300 more on the side?  Man had to be tired.  Listening to one woman can be difficult.

Even though God made it clear the Israelites shouldn’t marry outside the faith, he insisted on loving lots of women and, somehow, managed to listen them.  Which is what got him in trouble.  In his old age they turned his heart away from God.

Judah:  don’t get me started.  Sold his brother into slavery.  Broke countless laws.  Failure as a father.  Two of his sons were so evil God struck them dead.  Lied repeatedly.  BFFs with the Canaanites.  Refused to provide for his family.

His son’s widow, Tamar, was so desperate to get his attention she went to the dark side.  Posing as a prostitute she stalked him and made herself available.  Didn’t take much convincing.  Their encounter resulted in twin boys.  So much wrong here.

What do all these people have in common?  Sinners.  Who knew better.  Yet they shared one significant characteristic: when they heard God call, they answered.

In spite of being ridiculed for years, Noah listened to God and built the ark.  Abraham trusted God, and, with only one child, became the father of billions of people, including Jesus.  When David was confronted with his heinous crimes, he broke.  He used his both his brokenness and his joy to bless us with the Psalms.  His heart was open like God’s.  Jesus refers to himself many times as “the son of David.”  Son of a brutal, conniving, seducing, murderer.  Put some miles on that thought.

Judah, wow.  After all he had done, when faced with his lies and immorality with Tamar, acknowledged his sin and repented.  And one of his illegitimate, semi-incestuous twin sons carried the genealogical line to Jesus.

What’s the moral of this story?  That it doesn’t matter how much we’ve messed up.  We can be colossal failures.  We can be stubborn repeat offenders.  We can be full of ourselves, murder, cheat, lie, flash the neighbors in a drunken stupor, and still be in The Family.

Chester isn’t the only stinker around.  We all have our sirens.

Yet, when God intervenes and gets your attention, listen.  Open your heart.  Be accessible.  It’s our chance at redemption.

Listen, I hear something.  God is calling and he’s got a treat.  We’d better come.

Respect to Jim and Cindy and all who are trying to listen to God.

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