North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    On Christmas Eve in 2004, I traveled to a nearby town with my children and my father to meet a man and his wife who bred Labrador Retrievers. The meeting had been prearranged and we looked forward to this new addition to our family. The little 8 week-old black lab took turns being cuddled in the laps of both Anna Marie and David on the drive back. The dog was really my Dads, but we all claimed him as part of the family unit.    As is with most Labs, they generally don’t live past 10-12 years. Sport, as we called him, lived to be 14. I pause to reflect on the lessons we learned from him and I can point to very specific examples of character traits he possessed; kindness, endurance, obedience, and brotherly love, just to name a few. All of which are traits encouraged by the Divine Word.

    As my Dad was the primary caregiver and spent most of the time with him, he invariably became Sport’s master. I saw this with my own eyes, and my Dad likes sharing the story that Sport would often back away from his food bowl when the long-haired tabby cat came in for a taste test. It always baffled me that a grown dog would give up his meal (usually only a few morsels) to a cat. But he did. It was kindness in character that he did so. He would back away; look at his master as if to say, “OK, I’ll let him eat first.”

    When Sport was 18 months old, he ran 7 miles with me through sand, hills, and creeks; never once asking me to stop and quit. He had endurance that made him strong physically.

    Sometimes, when visiting my parents, and while Sport roamed the nearby country side, I could call him three or four times before he’d acknowledge me. But when by Dad called him, it took one time and here he’d come. He exercised obedience to the master.

    I once adopted a German Shepherd because we felt Sport might like a buddy. He welcomed him into his dog yard with no hesitation. They enjoyed a brief friendship until lightning struck and killed his friend. But it wasn’t before Sport shared some brotherly love with a fellow canine. Sport’s life was the envy of every dog that lives the country life.

    On his last day, in an old and feeble state, we loaded him into his carrier for what was to be his final trip to the Vet. I purposefully looked into his eyes. Though his hearing had diminished, his eyesight was still good and he was fixed on his master, my Dad. I reached in to pet him one last time, he acknowledged it by lowering his head, but he kept his eye on his master. His master had provided for him, took care of him, gave him shelter from the storms, shared many memorable days running through the fields and trails around home. Sport was most content when in the company of his master and leisurely spending time with him. He trusted his master, even when his health was failing and he barely had strength enough to stand, he kept his eye on his master.

    These illustrations beg the question, are you looking to the Master, which is Jesus Christ? Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus (the Master), the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”. We must run our race all the way to the end, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Master.

    We need to Look to the Master IN everything. Many people are ready to look to Jesus when trouble strikes, but when everything is going well; they lean on their own limited strength and fail. We must look to Jesus in everything—in good times as well as bad, in joy as well as sorrow, and in triumph as well as trial. The Scripture admonishes us to look to Jesus “that we may obtain mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16).

    We also need to Look to the Master FOR everything. Some do not depend on the Lord to supply all their needs. They rely on self-effort and other people and sooner or later experience disappointment. We should look to Jesus for life, love, food, clothing, and shelter. We are promised ample supply for all our needs: “God, who takes care of me, will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus (the Master)” (Philippians 4:19).

    We need to Look to the Master WITH everything. To reap the benefits of God’s care, we mustn’t reserve portions of our life from Him. He can be trusted. If we’re to be victorious, we must look to Jesus (the Master) with everything—time, talent, and treasure. We must be totally dedicated to him (Romans 12:1).

    Finally, we need to Look to the Master THROUGH everything. Look to Christ more than just in the good times. And don’t blame him when suffering and tragedy strikes. God often allows suffering to strengthen our faith and fulfill his purpose. We must continue to look to Jesus (the Master) and seek his purpose with patience and trust.

    Sport, the 14 year-old black lab finished his race and kept his eye on his master all the way to the end. Are you looking to the Master, Jesus Christ, just now in your present circumstances? Trust in God to help you live the life he has given you. No matter how long your race in life, keep on running, and finish the race with your eyes on the Master.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the Public Health Services Manager for Santa Rosa County, Florida, a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He recently published his 4th Volume in the “Living With Purpose” Book series which can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:


Posted by on Dec 16 2018. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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