Monday, March 11, 2013

Lessons From A Sheepdog, by Phillip Keller (Book Review)

© Melinda Nagy | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Lessons From A Sheepdog was written in 1982 by Phillip Keller. I picked up a copy about 10 or 12 years ago at a garage sale and it has sat on a shelf ever since. A couple of months ago while perusing the books in my library and working on a list of books I intended to read in 2013, Lessons From A Sheepdog caught my eye. Now that I've read it, I am convinced that it was God who directed my attention to that book on the shelf.

At first glance, it may seem odd to try to draw lessons about the Christian life from a sheepdog. After all, Christians are called sheep, not sheepdogs. But you can rest assured that Mr. Keller is not trying to change the biblical designation of Christians as sheep. Indeed he makes reference all through the book to this very distinction. However, just as a shepherd often uses a sheepdog to help care for the flock, we who are servants of Christ have the privilege of co-laboring with God to help lead and guide His flock. But this doesn't mean the book is only for pastors or those who are church leaders in some official capacity. Since every believer who is biblically living out their faith will have some measure of influence on others, this book can encourage and strengthen Christians of all ages and situations.

In the first chapter, Mr. Keller tells the story of how in his younger years he was starting a new sheep ranch and was in need of a good sheepdog. He answered a classified ad from an individual who sounded desperate to get rid of a very bad and surly dog. Mr. Keller loved dogs and couldn't stand to see this one destroyed by its incompetent owner, so he agreed to take the dog. Eventually the dog became a loyal and faithful servant to Mr. Keller and was a huge asset to his work as a shepherd. The story presented in that first chapter is well-told and heart-warming in and of itself, but it gets infinitely better in the ensuing chapters as Mr. Keller uses his relationship with his dog to illustrate our relationship with God.