A Dog's Life

Exodus 21.5-6 NIV

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” 

I have a single friend who compares marriage and family life to the plight of a domesticated dog. He thinks of himself as a wolf, free to roam the woods, chase game, and be accountable to no one. He feels pity for his canine friends who are chained to their master’s house and confined to a fenced yard. He takes great pride in his freedom. No leash for this guy. He’s wild and free and proud of it. 

Actually, my friend is lonely, cold, and hungry. He doesn’t even know what he’s missing. I imagine he looks down from the mountainside on cold wintry nights and yearns to curl up in front of the fire at the feet of the master. With the leash comes the good life… the security of regular food, a warm home, companionship, and love. 

Not every master is a good one and not every marriage was made in heaven. There are certainly times when freedom is better than servitude, and the single life than marital disharmony. “A quarrelsome wife [or husband] is like a constant dripping on a rainy day” (Proverbs 27.15a). However if your master is Jesus, you’d be a fool to “want to go free.” Let Him nail your ear to the door and become His “servant for life.”

Nearly 2,000 years ago, in an eternal act of selfless role-reversal, our owner willingly laid his body on the wooden frame of a cross. He “was pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53.5 NIV). He voluntarily gave up His freedom for you and me. Christ “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NKJV). Jesus proved His love by becoming the servant of the humanity He created. He earned the right to own me. He bought me with His blood. Yet, the choice remains mine. I can be a wolf or a dog. A man of God who trusts his Master and loves his family will gladly follow the example of Jesus and remain faithful to his wife and children, church and community.   

The life of a wolf may seem glamorous and sexy. The pursuit of porneia in all its seductive forms offers everything, but delivers nothing but brokenness, pain, and regret. The leash in the hands of a trustworthy master is a good life. I’ll take a dog’s life.

"Eyes of the Medicine Wolf" is a painting by Native American wildlife artist, Marguerite Fields who seeks to "capture images of a land that once was," and was first posted on my blog http://www.wordtraveler.org/ years ago with the artist's gracious permission. Sadly, Ms. Fields passed away in May 2013.