By Bonita Joyner Shields
“Can we come tonight to see Josie?”
“It will take you two hours to get here. Maybe we can do it later in the week.”
Cindy got off the phone with April. She just wasn’t ready for the visit. Josie had been part of their family for two years.
Josie is a pure-bred German shepherd. She lives on 35 acres with her owners, Cindy and her husband, Tom. They bought Josie so she could be a watchdog for them and to help keep deer and other animals out of their large garden that they grow each year. But that’s not what Josie likes to do! She loves people—which is a good thing. But if her owners aren’t home, she will get loose and go to their neighbors’ homes to find friends—which isn’t always a good thing.
Cindy struggled with the decision of whether or not it was best for Josie to live with them. She was such a loving dog, yet she wasn’t very helpful in the ways that they needed her to be in order to care for such a large property. They needed an outdoor dog. If Josie had her way, she’d lay on her rug inside the house and just listen to the humans talking!
Was there someone who would love Josie the way they do, yet who could make her an indoor dog so she could be with people more?
Cindy decided to place an advertisement online to see if there was anyone who could provide Josie with a new home. She then prayed that morning that God would lead someone to them who would be the perfect people to love and care for her. She prayed on Tuesday morning. That day Cindy received an e-mail from April and called her that evening.
“Can we come see Josie tonight?” April asked.
Cindy wasn’t ready to let Josie go yet. “It will take you two hours to get here. Maybe we can do it later in the week.” They hung up, and Cindy thought that maybe she could come back early from her doctor’s appointment on Thursday. But that would mean Tom couldn’t meet April and her family. So they decided to call Chris and April back and tell them they could come that night.
April’s husband, Chris, replied, “I was just going to call you to see if we could come tonight. I have the next three days off work, and it would be perfect to have that time with Josie. If it works out, we can take her.”
Chris, his wife, April, and one of their four children arrived at nearly 9:00 p.m. After they talked about Josie, Cindy and Tom decided that this was the family that God had sent to them. They said their sad goodbyes and Josie went to her new home.
Chris and April sent Cindy and Tom pictures of Josie in her new home, playing with their four children. Josie looked so happy. She had her bed in the corner of the family room, where she could be with all the children. Josie also has 32 acres surrounding her new home if she wants to explore! Chris and April also told Cindy and Tom that they could contact them any time.
Here’s the incredible part of the story: April said that Josie slept at the foot of her bed that first night. Whenever April got up to go somewhere, Josie was right next to her. April has a health condition that doesn’t cause her a lot of problems at the moment, but she knows that her condition may get worse as she gets older. So April may decide to have Josie trained as a service dog if her condition gets worse. And Josie is the perfect dog for this because these types of dogs must stay close to their master!
We know that God has plans for our lives, but I think God has plans for His animals’ lives, too. God will use Josie to be a joy to her new family and to be a service to her new master.
We’ve written about stewardship in the past, and service is an important part of stewardship. Being a faithful steward involves managing our time and our possessions the way God wants us to. But it also involves using our abilities to honor Him. Do you think Josie is honoring her Maker by being a service to others? Definitely! She may not realize it the way we humans do, but I think Josie is happy serving others.
Josie is living her destiny. The question for us to think about this week is “Am I living my destiny by using my abilities to serve others?”
God wants us to serve others so we can bring joy to them and to ourselves—just like Josie.
Bonita Joyner Shields is stewardship director for the North American Division.