Faithful Abby - by Jeff Grimes

Members of the church here at Sasser automatically recognize the name Abby, and for good reason. Abby is one of our most "faithful members." Sunday morning, Sunday night, and even on Wednesday night, Abby can be counted on to be here. The only time I can remember Abby missing an assembly of the church was due to a car accident. You see; Abby lost one of her legs due to this unfortunate accident. It was touch and go for a while, but after days in the hospital, and weeks of recovery Abby overcame this debilitating injury. During all this time she never seemed to loose her enthusiasm, or love for people. Truly, Abby is most unusual. I think there are lessons that Abby can teach all of us. However, before I go any further, maybe I need to explain that Abby is a sixty-pound White English Bulldog. She belongs to Rex and Debra Wallace, and yes, I did ask permission to use Abby's name in this short article.

First, let me say that pointing to God's creatures, as illustrations for lessons in life is not original with me. God did this long ago. For example, in Proverbs 6:6, and 30:25-God uses the tiny ant to illustrate the importance of diligence, and preparation. In Proverbs 30:27 locusts illustrate what can be accomplished by working together. The Bible is literally filled with a host of animals to depict various and sundry principles. Lions, leopards, sheep, goats, horses, eagles, doves, and dogs to name only a few.

Now, what are some lessons Abby the Bulldog can teach us?

1. Although Abby is handicapped having only three legs, she is always on time. She is even here in time for the song service, and announcements. I never remember Abby being late. She even beats the preacher here most of the time!

2. As mentioned above, Abby is dependable. She does not forsake the assembly. She attends Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday nights. In fact, if I remember correctly, last year she attended every night of our Gospel meeting. If it's raining, Abby is here. Cold and windy, she comes anyway. Hot and dry, yep she's here. Not a bad record considering she has to walk to each service; on three legs at that! On a couple of occasions, instead of staying at home and playing, Abby brought her friends with her. I doubt Abby understands Hebrews 10:25- "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." However, we should understand and take it to heart. It's not just a good suggestion, but also a command for our own good. Our attitude should be like that of King David, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord" (Psalm 122:1). "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). Jesus taught, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The key word in this passage is "FIRST." Remember in Luke 9:57-62 two of the three men Jesus invited to follow him used the word "first". Note "...Lord, suffer me FIRST to go..." and "...let me FIRST go bid them farewell..." The Lord's reply to them was, "No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." In other words following the Lord involved a commitment that should have taken precedence over every thing else. Over personal convenience, family, and friends. A religion that will not carry us to church will not carry us to heaven.

3. Abby is friendly; she is not shy, nor does she discriminate. Each person whether a "regular" member or visitor, is greeted with the same enthusiasm. As a general rule the first impression is a lasting impression. It ought to be the case that every visitor we have should be impressed with a friendly smile, a handshake, and a hardy welcome. Every member should make every effort to make every visitor feel appreciated. Don't wait for someone else to do it; you go first. The Bible says, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly..." (Proverbs 18:24). Surely that principle would apply to a congregation of the Lord's people as well.

4. Abby is alert during worship. She does not sleep, doze, or nap. I know this is true because from time to time I can hear her on the outside "woofing" at something she has spotted down the road, or in front of the building. I assume she must have gotten plenty of rest on Saturday night to enable her to be so alert on Sunday morning. "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephesians 5:14).

Another thing I appreciate about Abby. She never complains about anything. Her food, or flea collar, not even about her handicap; although it must be difficult to maneuver with her right front leg missing. One other thing, to my knowledge she has never one time complained about the preaching either? Abby, you good dog you.

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