Photo by ML Ohnemus

 

Meet Festus the dog. (seen here with my sis)

Upon our first meeting, I got a perfunctory sniff.

He mulled it over for a bit, then cautiously decided I was ok.

We soon became fast friends.

Festus lives on cattle farm with my sister and brother-in-law in the scenic hill country south of Des Moines, Iowa.

He’s wired for a purpose.

He’s a combo of Heeler/Australian Shepherd who is wired to herd livestock.

More than a cherished family member, he is also an invaluable farmhand when it comes to rounding up cattle.

Heelers generally are hardy and intelligent breed stemming from their dingo outback ancestry.

He’s compact and muscular with a high energy level. His friendly demeanor belies a fierce determination that allows him to face the most ornery 2700 lb. bull.

Festus’ remarkable intellect shines through as he problem-solves and follows complex instructions in the course of his work.

When he’s not on cow dog duty, as sometimes is the case, he’ll get bored and starts herding anything else that moves, like little children, or the chickens, or even cats. No matter how much they object, he does it anyway.

His vigilant guarding instincts have him protecting the farmyard yard day and night from anything and everything. This includes chasing errant squirrels, the occasional fox, or treeing multiple marauding raccoons. This leads to a lot of excited barking, even in the middle of the night. He won’t stop until brother-in-law David gets up and deals with things.

As annoying as that can be at times, he’s just “doing his thing”, exactly what he was born to do.

Festus was wired to be a working dog. His Creator gave him remarkable energy and intelligence specifically for herding cattle. He either fulfills that purpose or creates minor havoc doing something else!

 Did you know that every human being is created with a purpose and that they have a responsibility to not only discover their purpose but also to fulfill it?  Zig Ziglar 

Like Festus, we’ve been created as human beings to be “wired for a purpose”.

Watching Festus do the work for which he was intended is remarkable. With his feet barely touching the ground, he moves with speed and skill, strategically corralling and directing the herd.

And, he seems to do it all with something akin to delight and gratitude. He always returns to perch on the back of the ATV with a wide doggy grin and “that was fun” look and eager for more.

What Festus presumably does from instinct, we have the privilege of doing by choice.

We too have been wired for work, even though our work is much more complex and nuanced.

Us humanoids require thoughtful engagement and considerable discernment when it comes to working.

Nevertheless, Festus can teach us something about fulfilling our purpose and the wasteful consequences of not doing so. Our capacity for work will always find expression in some form. Our challenge is to be intentional and discerning about how we choose to live that out.

Like Festus, we can either fulfill our purpose for good meaningful work or get bored or sidetracked chasing squirrels.

The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. Mark Twain 

Unlike Festus, our work is rarely singular in its focus. Our vocational roles are often multi-faceted.

Me? I’m a builder at heart.

While I’ve built houses, commercial structures, and entire communities, my current work is helping others build strategy, effective teams and innovative organizational cultures at for-profit and not-for-profit companies.

With my family, it’s all about being a husband, father, and grandfather to three enegetic grandkids.

In my local community, I serve in volunteer roles, and so on.

In all these contexts, there are different dimensions to providing leadership.

 One of the gifts of being human is the sheer variety of our work. The best part? We get to do this!

What are you wired for? Do you see a better future when others don’t? Are you able to teach and lead others? Perhaps you driven by empathy and a deep concern for others. Are you an explorer who enjoys conquering new territory?

Been chasing any squirrels recently?

Until next time.

Lorne

Festus in action