Nate Adams on What Dogs Can Teach Us About Following Christ

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. This column first appeared in the association’s newspaper, Illinois Baptist (

We adopted our dog Willy as a scraggly shelter puppy eight years ago. Our veterinarian looked him over during his first visit and said, “This little guy looks like he was made out of spare parts.”

Willy was never very coordinated, and one eye didn’t work very well, if at all. At 17 months, when his other eye suffered a detached retina, he became completely blind.

I admitted many times that my first thought was to look for a money-back guarantee from the shelter. I wasn’t sure we wanted a dog that couldn’t see a ball, much less catch one.

But I married a tenderhearted, compassionate wife who immediately declared that Willy needed us. Her grace gave him value, and he continued to be a sweet and obedient companion to our family from that day on. He was my wife’s prayerwalking partner. He was her conversation starter and relationship builder with our neighbors. And occasionally, he was even a sermon illustration for me.

The vet told us several months ago that Willy was in his last days. After that, each time Beth or I headed out the door with him, we knew it was one of our final walks.

But Willy didn’t seem to have a clue about his mortality. Though his appetite and energy were fading, he slowly rose and followed us wherever we were in the house. He walked as well as he could when we took him outside. He asked for attention with his paw when he needed something. And he seemed completely content just to be with us.

Death is a sobering thing to think about, at least for those who don’t feel they’re nearing it yet.

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Source: Baptist Press