Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Babe has Spunk

By on November 14, 2014

Babe the Beagle has been with us for almost fifteen years. I clearly remember that day while on vacation in Hawaii when Jeannie said, “You know what? I’d like a Beagle for my birthday!” To say I was surprised with her request would be a vast understatement. We’ve had about every kind of dog you can imagine. But a Beagle?!! What was Jeannie thinking?

I called our daughter in OKC and asked her to locate a beagle for her mom. It took her three weeks to find one expensive enough! But a few week later, on a crisp winter day, Jeannie and two of our grandsons headed down to Texas to fetch a hand-full of fur, mischief and love, she lovingly tagged “Babe.”

Now, Babe belongs to Jeannie, but she loves me most! When I come through the door, even if gone for only an hour, she greets me as if I’ve been away for a month. Jeannie once asked me why I didn’t greet her first when I got home. I told her if she’d howl when I scratched her behind the ears I’d be glad to oblige.

Over the years, Babe has taught me a lot about myself. Babe loves me…but she doesn’t worship me. If she did, I wouldn’t have to keep her on a leash when we go walking each day. She’s always lagging behind to examine something rotten and smelly, or she’s lunging ahead to chase something a hundred times her size…like a truck. Sometimes I hear the Lord whispering, “You’re just like Babe! And I suppose the reason He keeps me on a leash is a reminder that, like Babe, I still have not totally surrendered my will to His.

Lately, Jeannie and I have noticed that Babe seems to have lost a little of her “spunk.” I suppose that’s a little natural at 98 (in dog years) so we’ve been accommodating the challenges that come with age. (I wish folks would do that for me)! But yesterday we discovered that the old girl still has spunk…and a sin nature to boot!

Babe knows to stay in the yard… but she transgressed! So I went looking for her, walking the creek bed she frequents in moments of sinful abandon. Forty-five minutes, three and a half miles and a missed appointment later…we were reunited! Since Babe is virtually deaf she reads sign language.  I couldn’t remember the sign for “peeved” but she definitely got the message.

But I didn’t stay peeved too long! You see, throughout the search God was reminding me of the many times He’d had to come after me! “Yes,” the Good Shepherd had whispered once again, “Even in her old age, Babe still has some spunk and a tendency toward disobedience…Just like you! 

Sigh! I wonder when I’ll learn?

Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12

 

 

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  • cbtolosa

    Send BABE over here to Brenda and me, Pastor Elliff, and we’ll teach her American Dog Sign Language!  LOL

  • MiaFrederiksen

    I can relate so very well!  I have rescued Beagles for 11 years, I have two now, Barney & Georgie.  I could never love another breed, sometimes I think if God had not given me life He may have made me a Beagle.  You opened my eyes to a wonderful lesson about why God keeps us on a short leash, I need the shortest leash possible, or be carried 99% of the time.  Thank you and God bless!