I heard a tale the other day about a devout farmer who had lost his favorite Bible while out plowing fields for his corn crop.
The next Sunday morning, as the farmer was walking out the door to go to church, an old sheepdog came strolling into his front yard with the lost Bible in his mouth.
The farmer could hardly believe his eyes. He reached down and took his Bible from the dog’s mouth and proclaimed: “It’s a miracle!”
“Not really,” the sheepdog said. “Your name is written on the inside cover.”
If you’ve ever been around sheepdogs, whether Australian shepherds, border collies or any other breed, you no doubt recognize just how smart they are. Perhaps not smart enough to read, but very smart nonetheless.
Our family has largely kept hounds, which tend to be known more for brawn than brains. We also have mountain feists, which I’m convinced rate right up there with border collies in intelligence.
I know many of you have smart dogs as well. I know you have cats and birds and livestock of all kinds. We certainly love our animals. And God does, too.
I’ve been thinking about how smart some of the animals are that God used in scripture to help people.
If you remember, when the Old Testament prophet Elijah was in hiding because his life was in danger, God commanded ravens to take him food, and they did. When Jonah needed rescuing from a raging sea, God sent a whale to provide safe transport to shore. When the Apostle Peter needed a “sermon” to bring him to his senses, the Lord used a rooster to flap his wings and crow just as loud as he could, bringing Peter to tears. Now, that was a powerful “sermon.”
There are so many more examples in the Bible of how God has used animals, and that reflect God’s concern for animals.
“Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without your Heavenly Father knowing” (Matthew 10:29).
In 1905, songwriter Civilla D. Martin wrote the lyrics: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
Jesus made that abundantly clear during his public ministry here on earth. “Look at the birds of the air,” he said. “They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they” (Matthew 6:26).
Did you hear that? God provides for the animals, and He provides for us.
God will meet our every need. It shouldn’t take a sheepdog to help us figure that out.
Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.