Have you ever watched a dog on a lead? Of course, just like people, every dog is different but it seems to me that in the main they fall into four different categories. Firstly are those who you see going for a walk who just amble alongside their owners, maybe a bit lazy, maybe a bit on the elderly side, often a bit podgy, amble, amble, amble, not taking much interest in anything.

Then there are those who lull you into a false sense of security. They seem to be like the first type, but then they’ll catch a scent or see something that interests them, and suddenly they’ll pull at the lead, eager to be off after that squirrel. If the owner’s not particularly aware they’ll find the lead pulled from their hand and a dog disappearing into the bushes.

Then there are those who can’t go more than a step without their attention being caught by something new. They’re always pulling, straining, at the lead, but never in the same direction for more than 30 seconds. They have the attention span of a goldfish. They want to be off the lead and off exploring the world, but they’re not sure about where they’d go first if they were let off.

Then there are the fourth type. They are the ones that if you had roller skates, or a skateboard would probably pull you along the route. They pull and strain and yearn with every ounce of their being against the lead. But in one direction. They pull you on every step of the way. They have a fixed idea in their head and they are going to go for it. The blood hound is on the scent and will not relent until she has found the quarry.

In our reading from Paul’s letter to the Christians in the city of Philippi we hear about how Paul is like our fourth type of dog. He is straining towards a goal. There is a prize, that he hasn’t fully got hold off, but he desires with all his being. He is pulling towards it, utterly focussed. And, it seems to me, that he encourages his readers to do the same.

Continued here…

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