Phillip Keller uses his experience of acquiring and training a sheep dog, Lass, to write his book, Lessons from a sheep dog : a true story of transforming love. Through the training process Keller learns many lessons about our relationship with God. He beautifully describes how Lass’ relationship with him went from complete mistrust to total devotion. The only thing I didn’t like in the book, was the introduction where he tells the story of how Lass came to be his dog. Much of this material is unnecessary as it is repeated in the following chapters. The book is only short and has seven chapters or lessons.
Lesson 1 – In the wrong hands
Lass’ previous owner kept her chained up for long periods of times, to curb her desire to chase boys and bicycles. Her misused freedom led to her bondage. Has our misused freedom led us into bondage?
Lesson 2 – Set Free
Lass expected her new owner to treat her badly since her last master did. In the end, Keller had to set her free and allow her to make the choice to follow her new master. Do we freely choose to follow Jesus, or do we obey out of duty?
Lesson 3 – Learning to Trust
Lass learns she can trust her master because he shows her affection, looks after her and protects her. Do we trust our Father’s love?
Lesson 4 – The Delight of Obedience
Lass grew to delight in obeying her master. She sought her master’s approval. Lass knew he acted in her best interests. She found purpose and fulfilment in obeying him. Do we find delight in obeying God?
Lesson 5 – The Test of Faithfulness
Lass found it difficult to follow the command, “stay”, when she couldn’t see her master. Likewise, when we are less aware of God’s presence do we remain faithful?
Lesson 6 – Love & Discipline
Lass’ master rebuke her when she disobeyed. Lass expected it because true love wants what is best for the beloved. Lass was happiest when she was working to her full potential. Do we expect God to discipline us when we get distracted from our purpose?
Lesson 7 – Ready for Anything
Lass would venture into rough and rocky country to find the sheep, even if this caused her pain through scratches and bruises. Are we ready to suffer to fulfil God’s purposes for our lives?
This is a profoundly moving and challenging book when you realise the depth of trust God desires from his people.
Overall a great read.