Thursday, April 28

Eye Contact

The other day, Mr. M was watching a program on different types of dogs. As he told me what he had learned, my little brain went into overdrive when he explained the characteristics of border collies. The one thing that jump-started my muse was this...

Border collies guide sheep with their eyes.

I went straight to Google and found some very interesting facts.

Border collies are bred to gather, not drive, sheep. They have the ability to control a herd without the use of force. With almost hypnotic precision, they maintain intense eye contact with the sheep, while darting in and out to guide them with uncanny timing and precision.

These herding dogs have the capability to master any type of herd. They will also anticipate the direction the herd is going to move and adjust its movements accordingly. They can adjust their pace to be in sync with the sheep or other herd.

Good herding dogs control sheep with calm authority and without excessive commotion. Sometimes, though, a stubborn sheep will not follow directions and the border collie’s natural instinct is to slowly increase its tactics to herd the sheep into obeying his desires.

The dog will then try barking to gain the sheep’s attention. If barking does not work, the dog will nip at the sheep’s feet and eventually bite them to get his point across.

When the collie gets the sheep where they belong, he relaxes and joins in with them.

All these characteristics elicit respect, not fear, from the sheep.

Did you see it? Did you see the similarities of how the Lord works?

The Lord...

* gathers His sheep; He does not drive them, “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” (Jer. 23:3 NKJV)

* has the ability to control His sheep without force, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29 NKJV)

* maintains intense eye contact, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Ps. 32:8 NKJV)

* anticipates which direction we are going and adjusts His movements accordingly, “And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, ‘No, this is the way; walk here.” (Is. 30:21 TLB)

* has uncanny timing and precision, for “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11a NKJV), and “His way is perfect.” (2 Sam. 22:31 NKJV)

* controls with calm authority: “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’” (Mark 4:39 NKJV)

* will increase His tactics if a stubborn sheep does not obey, “For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” (Heb. 12:6 NLT)

* relaxes and joins in with His sheep when they are where He wants, “And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.” (John 6:3 NKJV)

* elicits respect not fear from His sheep. Jesus told a parable that represented the Father, saying, “I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will show respect for him.” (Luke 20:13 TLB)

When these characteristics of the Lord collided with my gray matter (uh, the inner kind), an awesome sense of gratitude rushed over me as I read each one.

I prayed as David did, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye.” (Ps. 17:8a NKJV) Or as it would say with its expanded definitions, “Hedge me about as with thorns, guard and protect me as the little man or daughter of Your eye.” Or as The Message states it, “Keep Your eye on me.”

God keeps His eye on all His children; none escapes His attention. He will keep eye contact with them...when they look up to Him!

“God’s eye is on those who respect Him,
the ones who are looking for His love.”
(Ps. 33:18a Msg)

24 Responses
  1. As a dog lover, I really enjoyed reading this. It is amazing how these dogs are able to control the sheep. And you did an amazing job correlating that with how God shepherds us.

    Great post!

  2. lynnmosher Says:

    Sheila, I so enjoyed reading about the border collies. Have always enjoyed watching them in herding events. Thanks so much for your comment! :D

  3. This is beautiful, as usual. So comprehensive and truly inspired.

  4. David Rupert Says:

    These dogs are amazing..and I never knew their eyes did the work. i love the way they skulk and sneak around and quickly run. Smart creatures! And your scriptural points are well taken

  5. lynnmosher Says:

    Thanks so much, sweet Betty! You bless me! Blessings to you!

  6. lynnmosher Says:

    Oh, David, I love watching them go through their motions. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm honored! Blessings to you!

  7. I have a sudden urge to wear a wool sweater and pet a dog. :)

    Blessings, Lucy

  8. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL Too funny, Flucy! Thanks!

  9. What a great anthology! Neither did I know the dogs use their eyes to control the sheep. And then the correlation with Our Shepherd. Wonderful.

  10. Unknown Says:

    This is fantastic! I wasn't aware border collies were so intelligent... gentle yet strong. We can learn a lot from dogs!

  11. lynnmosher Says:

    Isn't that cool? Love that about the dogs. Thank you so much, Cecilia, for your comments. You bless me! Blessings to you!

  12. lynnmosher Says:

    Wow! Thank you, Alisa! I really appreciate it. Yes, border collies are awesome dogs. So honored you stopped by. Blessings to you!

  13. Unknown Says:

    Fascinating. Watching dogs work sheep or cattle is an phenomenal experience. I've never before thought to equate it to how the Lord "works" us. Thanks for giving me something to chew on today, Lynn!

  14. lynnmosher Says:

    Thanks so much, Katie-kins! So happy to have you visit! I appreciate it. Blessings to you!

  15. Oh, Lynn, I LOVE this! Your writing always speaks to me. I love sheep and sheepdogs (Border Collies), and would have a Border Collie if we had the space for one. But I do have quite a collection of the figurines from Border Fine Arts. Have you ever read Lessons From A Sheepdog by Phillip Keller? It is just a small book, but packed full of great inspiration for our daily life. Bless you! and do keep writing!

  16. lynnmosher Says:

    Wow! Thanks so much, Lynn! You make my heart happy! The book sounds awesome. I'll have to put it on my to-get list. Thanks for mentioning it. Bless you!

  17. That's a great comparison, Lynn! You always find a lesson about our Lord in the unexpected, and always so inspiring. Blessings to you!

  18. lynnmosher Says:

    Aww, you bless me! Thank you so much, sweet Connie! Blessings to you!

  19. Anonymous Says:

    We had a collie who would shepherd our children just like that - as a matter of fact - saving one's life in a harrowing experience with just the methods you described. Your accompanying scripture was so encouraging:)

    Your post in Sanctified Together so blessee me. As I was reading, I thought, I love fields full of flowers - I would like to be that. Then as I read, I realized - now, I want to be a field full of wheat - but maybe lined with pretty flowers!!!

  20. lynnmosher Says:

    Oh, my gosh! That is awesome! Thank God for your dog! Thank you so much, sweetie, for both comments. And what a beautiful thought: a wheat field full of wheat - but maybe lined with pretty flowers!!! I love that! You've blessed me! Blessings to you!

  21. Beautiful Lynn...saw a wonderful special on PBS about dogs a couple of years ago. So much I didn't know. I have always been a dog lover and wanted to be a veterinarian. I love the correlation between Jesus, Our Good Shepherd and His sheep with the border collie and his flock. Great points and some of my favorite Scriptures!

  22. lynnmosher Says:

    They are so inspiring to watch. Love 'em! Thanks so much, Deborah. Makes my heart happy that you liked it. Blessings to you!

  23. Jen Says:

    Undoubtable truth! God's shepherding has remarkable parallels, truths, & lessons worth emulating.
    Thanks for sharing. A new follower from BlogMom,

  24. lynnmosher Says:

    Thank you so much, Jen, for visiting. So nice to have a new precious face join in. I deeply appreciate your comment. Blessings to you!