“ I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (KJV)
INTRO: I am not sure how many of our modern marvels of ministry would lay down their lives for another. I do know that there are some very humble and devout ministers of God who would do so, but these may constitute a minority. But God’s love can also be demonstrated in the wonderful creatures that He has made to be friends of men and women. I found an example of this truth in an internet posting. I believe you will find it worthy of the read (JLO):
BARRY THE HEROIC DOG
The National Geographic Magazine some time ago devoted a large section of one of its issues to the subject of dogs and their deeds, and the following story of Barry is well worth repetition. Barry belongs to that breed of dog known to the world as the St. Bernard stock. This famous dog, during his lifetime, actually saved forty-one human beings from being frozen to death high in the Alps. Whenever a snowstorm begins, these well-trained, devoted dogs become very excited at the prospect of saving men from a terrible death. They leap and bark and show every sign of impatience if they are not sent out into the storm immediately. God has gifted these great dogs with wonderful scent, so that they can discover a person, although he may be buried many inches beneath the snow.
But the strange and sad part of Barry’s unique story is that while he saved forty-one persons, he lost his own life while attempting to rescue the forty-second man. After digging the perishing man out of the snow, the dog stretched himself over the body of the man, as he had been trained to do, to impart warmth and revive the flickering spark of life. When the man began to thaw out, he saw the huge dog hovering over him. In his dazed, drowsy condition, he mistook the dog for a wolf intent on devouring him. Quickly he plunged a dagger into the animal’s side! Without a whimper, the noble dog crept away to his master’s cabin where he bled to death at the doorstep. News of the death of Barry soon spread, causing genuine grief because of such a tragedy. He was buried and a tombstone was placed on his grave with the account of his heroic deeds engraved on it.
Why did this man, imperiled as he was, do such a cruel, terrible thing? Because he misunderstood the dog’s purpose and mission. He thought the dog had come to devour him, while in actual fact he had come to deliver him. How many today, in regards to spiritual things, have wrong thoughts as to God and His plan of salvation for lost man. Like the man in the parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:24,25) who said, “I knew you to be a hard man,” they think that God is hard, cruel or even nonexistent. This is exactly what Satan wants man to believe about God and His Son, when the truth is, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3: 16); and, “The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This is what God wants you to know and believe, that you might be delivered from the dreadful peril of eternal separation from God, the second death in the lake of fire.
What are your thoughts right NOW about Christ? You cannot plead ignorance, for have you not heard that He died on the cross for sinners and therefore for you? Have you not heard that He rose from the dead according to the Scriptures, and now lives to appeal to you through His Word? He has salvation for you if you will accept Him as your personal Savior. Do you not realize what your awful plight is without Him? Do you not know that He is the only Savior? Why not allow Him to warm you with His love and save you by His power right now?
Don’t be guilty of crucifying to yourself “the Son of God afresh” (Hebrews 6:6), which is the dreadful condemnation of all who deliberately reject His loving offer of saving grace. Rather, turn to Him NOW! Put your faith in Jesus as He presents Himself as the One who desires to save you with an eternal salvation. Call upon Him as Peter did, “Lord, save me,” and immediately hear Him say to you in reply: “Your faith has saved you, go in peace” (Luke 7:50), and “he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).