Not my dog.
By definition a leash keeps a dog from moving freely, tying them to where their owner is walking. Seems like something which would annoy a dog in theory.
When I pull out the leash The Roc recognizes what’s about to happen. I don’t even have to say a word.
He knows where I keep the leash. He knows when I’m going for it.
Wherever he is he starts running. His heart starts racing. His legs can’t contain themselves.
We’re going to his favorite place. We’re going outside.
The leash brings The Roc to life. He gets to head into the open world. The leash allows Roc to experience all new sights and smells.
Of course, the leash does restrict my dog. He can’t run completely free and explore. I have to keep him in check. He has been known to run far away without the leash to bring him back home.
In church this past Sunday the pastor was speaking on God as the anchor for our soul. That metaphor has been stuck in my head all week. And as I walked my dog the other day it all made sense.
When my dog runs away out the front door without his leash he thinks he’s really getting the most out of life. The reality is when he is left to his own devices he cannot survive. He wouldn’t last a day out in the wilderness on his own. Being on the leash gives him what he truly needs.
There’s a leash waiting to give us all we need as well. In Matthew 11 Jesus calls us to take upon the Lord’s yoke.
Wait a second.
A yoke? Like an ox? Like we’re God’s beasts of burden?
Being yoked to God is an uncomfortable and offputting metaphor at first glance. Yet Jesus’s command is not one meant to restrict our lives.
Taking on God’s yoke gives life. Just like the leash gives a dog life, God’s yoke leads us to a life of selfless service, the most enriching life available.
The yoke is a symbol of work to be sure. Work is not always a joyful experience. But this yoke is not a punishment. It is not slavery. It is work which will set our soul free.
The yoke is also an anchor, pulling us back to our center when we try to run toward temptation. It is a constant reminder of one greater than us who truly cares for us, who looks out for our safety, who brings us to be who we were made to be.
Maybe one day if all dogs go to heaven my dog will run free. For now he needs the leash. The leash is good. The leash gives life.
Life on the leash is not a punishment. It is a constant reminder of a master who cherishes us. The leash is the release of a burden upon one who can bear it. The leash is our anchor.