A Man’s (A Dog’s) Got to Know His Limits

My friend Robert and I went fishing one evening and a morning a while back. We both have relatively new dogs so we brought them with us. Robert has a Labrador mix that is about a year younger than Simeon, she is black and her name is K.C. Simeon does not have many opportunities to run and play with a dog his size very often so we thought this would be a good opportunity for both of them. Simeon just has the cat to “play” with and a five pound cat does not provide much competition in the wrestling realm for a sixty five pound dog.
Simeon and K.C. ran and played, wrestled and jumped, ran and played, wrestled and jumped and then would follow along the shore through the brush, weeds, cattails, and rocks while we were in the boat. Simeon and K.C. had a grand time!! They, well at least Simeon, we exhausted by the end of the evening. The next morning I noticed Simeon was favoring an old injury and moving kind of slow. Well, hey, he is older after all; he has at least a year on K.C.
I noticed as we were getting ready to leave he was licking his paws. I sat down next to him and looked at the pads on his big feet. They were all red and sore, one pad he had worn clear through as it was raw. He had played just too much for one outing! He slept all but about 20 minutes of the 3 hour drive home and as far as I know is probably either sleeping or licking his paws as I write this.
I had just watched part of one of the old Dirty Harry movies the other evening and a quote came to mind from Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, after all the bad guys had been disposed of, “A man just needs to know his limits.” Simeon did not seem to know his limits.
It is good advice. We all need to know our limits. We need balance in our lives. Too much of anything can wear our bodies, minds, spirits, souls down and cause us to become raw and vulnerable to life and faith. Too much play, too much work, too much food, too much drink, perhaps even too much religion can wear us down and wear us out. We need balance.
I believe Jesus was the consummate example of balance. He knew when it was time to work, to challenge, to preach and teach, to care for the children, and to spend time alone in prayer and rest. I suspect, though we do not have much textual record of it, Jesus probably even knew when it was time to play. But even for him, too much of any one thing, would have been too much.
Take some time this week to find your balance. Take stock of your lives, your faith, and see if there is too much of anything and not enough of other things. You might discover new rest and new energy for the coming days.


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