Relax, not the Norse “god” Odin, but rather Odin the dog. Odin isn’t an ordinary dog. Odin is a working dog, a Great Pyrenees, a livestock guardian over a heard of eight bottle fed dairy goats. He’s a dog with a responsibility. His mission, protect his flock.
In October of 2017 amidst the Tubbs fire in Sonoma County California, his family was heartbroken when they were forced to flee the oncoming flames. They couldn’t take Odin and their goats with them. Roland Hendel explained he had only a matter of minutes to gather a few things. Odin however would not abandon his goats. The family Sped away to safety as neighborhood buildings and cars were swallowed by flames.
‘Even under the best of circumstances it is nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats after nightfall when he takes over the close watch from his sister Tessa. I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried.’ owner Roland wrote. ‘Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats.’
Later, when the fire subsided, the family returned, Roland went on to explain, ‘We were able to make it back to the smoldering wasteland of our forest, ”every structure is in ruins. Trees are still burning’. Fearing the worst suddenly their group of eight goats raced to the family from the woods, followed by Odin. Injured and limping on his right leg, his whiskers were melted and his fur was burnt in places. The family wasn’t sure where Odin took his heard, but he led them to safety somewhere, and protected them along with two baby deer.
We can learn a few lessons from Odin.
His actions are a picture of the responsibility both pastors and watchmen have.
Several years ago LTC (RET) Dave Grossman wrote of the responsibilities of the sheepdog in an essay titled On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs. Colonel Grossman was primarily addressing the responsibility both peace officers and soldiers have. It’s important however for the Church to realize that a pastor’s and watchman’s responsibilities are similar but perhaps go a little farther.
6On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; 7And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Isaiah Ch 62, verses 6 and 7
Everyone knows a watchman, they’re in every church. You probably have several where you worship. If not pull up You Tube and you’ll find ‘em. As Colonel Grossman stated ‘a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night’ Like a “sheepdog”, watchmen are funny. They’re always talking about prophecy and current events. Always talking about stuff nobody likes to hear. Like Odin, watchmen have a mission. They see the smoke; they know the fire is coming. They feel it deep in their soul to warn all who would listen. Tho they yell it from the rooftops, rarely are they heard.
28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts Ch 20 Verse 28
Generally the flock won’t listen to the watchman but, most of the time they’ll listen to their pastor. Pastors know one of their chief duties is to tend to their flock. Most of them will tell you it’s not always easy when things are normal. What about when the fire comes? When that day arrives, pastors need to be able to shepherd their flock through the fire. Protect them through the flames.
Make no mistake.
Listen to your watchmen.
There’s smoke on the horizon.
Fire is coming.
Store extra food, water and emergency supplies. Keep extra Bibles on hand and prepare your flock, because either in the midst of the fire, or once the fire passed, every member of the Church will need to be equipped to step into that role of both watchmen and pastors. The Church will need to provide comfort and answers for ordinary people who may not know Jesus. They always come to the Church first, and if they don’t get what they need there they’ll turn to the only other place they can, the government. We all know only the Lord can provide what people truly need.
By the way if you are wondering about Odin, he is recovering and doing well. His family created a fundraising website at youcaring.com, to help pay for his medical care.
Well done Odin, Good Boy!