When I was growing up, my family had lots of pets.  Over the years we had a few dogs, which were my favourite of our pets.  Today I want to tell you about one of those dogs – a Shetland Sheepdog named Chantai.  She had a beautiful French name that means ‘to sing’.  She was not much of a singer and she definitely did not understand French.  In fact, I am not even certain that she understood English.  She was not a very smart dog.  She was very easily distracted and loved to explore.

Chantai escaped from our back yard one day.  She must have heard an interesting noise in the street and jumped right over the fence!  It was probably an ice cream truck.  (Have any of you ever chased an ice cream truck?)

So, she followed that truck right down the street and around the corner to the park.  Then she got distracted by some kids playing ball there.  She played with them for a while until she spotted a squirrel running by and decided that it would be fun to chase after it.  By this time, Chantai was all the way across our neighbourhood and we realised that she was gone from our yard at home.

Luckily, a kind neighbour called the phone number on her dog tag so that we could come to collect Chantai.  She was lost.  She had travelled far from her normal place and was distracted from finding her way back.

Today, the Bible story tells us that this can happen to us too; that we can chase after things that seem more important — money, popularity, fame, squirrels — than our relationships with God and the other people in our lives.  Just like the friendly neighbour who helped my family retrieve our dog, God always has an eye on us.  God helps us to get back on track and to remember the things that are important in our lives.