Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

Monday Cup: Sheepdog Reflections

There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs,
Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world,
and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves.
Those are the sheep.
Then you’ve got predators, who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves.
And then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression, an overpowering need to protect the flock.
These men are the rare breed who live to confront the wolf.
They are the sheepdog.

Wayne Kyle, father of Chris Kyle, American Sniper

I realize that my usual Monday Cups do not involve quotes from war movies, but I was so profoundly affected by watching American Sniper this weekend, that I feel compelled to share. Whether you are pro-war or anti-war, whether you’re Democrat or Republican, I truly believe this film is about more than our politics, our squabbles, or even the Iraq war specifically.

What I saw in this movie was a challenge to all of us: will you use your gifts to find the greenest pasture, settle down, and spend your life grazing? Will you use your gifts to exploit and prey upon others for your own advantage? Or, will you use your talents and time on this earth to protect the vulnerable, defend the indefensible, and serve?

What I saw in Chris Kyle was a human being answering the call to do the hard thing in service to his people. And as we were leaving the movie theatre, I asked my husband, “How many people have been given gifts that they’re not even using because it just might not make the most money, or be easy, or be acceptable?”

I long sat on my gifts, consumed by a Jonah heart, fearing that my service might exact from me more than I could bear to give. And yet, the more I give way to the true path for my life, the more I use my talents for His glory instead of my own, the more alive I feel.

We were meant to live in service to one another. Nothing heals like giving; nothing saves like kneeling down for another.

I challenge you, Red Vine family, to look at your lives differently, to see where you might serve as the sheepdog: watching over, growing up, defending, protecting, encouraging, serving. Find that life, and you will find the deepest contentments and the greatest joys.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

Let’s be a sheepdog people, a brave people, a people who champion the weak and the vulnerable. Green pastures just make you fat.

Come run with the sheepdogs and change the world. You only get one life, after all. Let’s make it count for something lasting and real, something bigger than our own pastures.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

God bless you this Monday. Let’s be violent in the Spirit, warring for our people in prayer and in life, as my cousin Kelsie often prays.

Calling all sheepdogs! Hooyah.


Here’s a little tune by Audio Adrenaline to get you in the warrior spirit this morning:

1 Comment

  1. Taylor, I look forward to every article that you write. It resonates with my soul the journey of a Christian mom and wife who wants the best for our families despite our mental illness. I love the analogy of sheep, wolves and the sheepdogs. While our Shepard, Lord and Savior is away, there is only us sheepdogs between the wolves and the flock. This Sheepdog is glad for the calling God gives to us and for the others dogs who help us fight.

Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I love to hear what you're thinking.

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