Drover’s Dermis

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3)

The man was concerned as he watched Drover’s behavior. More and more, the dog sat scratching his flank with his back foot, or stood with his head twisted back, trying to bite at his itchy back. Patches of hair began to fall out where his claws and teeth had raked again and again. The skin was flaky and dry. When the man brushed Drover’s fur, a back foot began its involuntary itching motion, thumping wildly, as if to assist the man in bringing this frantic irritation under control. One evening Drover just sat and howled his frustration. Something needed to be done, but what?  

The man sympathized with Drover, having himself experienced the sensation of itchiness—the uneasy compulsion to rub, claw, scratch, and scrape to sooth a restless irritation of the skin. He understood that Drover’s problem most likely lay in the dermis layer of skin beneath the surface. Scratching the outer layer, the epidermis, might provide temporary relief, but it was not likely to fix the problem.  

As he considered the situation, the man realized that there is an itching problem more serious than Drover’s. We humans sometimes have itching ears. Rather than hear the truth, we want to be told things that sound pleasant—things that temporarily relieve the symptoms of a deep heart ailment and make us feel good. Perhaps we even thump our feet or clap our hands in wild enthusiasm as our itch is scratched.  

The problem becomes even more serious as we begin to reject messengers of truth and welcome teachers who bear the message of easy compromise. May the Lord continue to raise up church leaders who are not afraid to teach what we need to hear. Let us pay attention to those who are concerned about treating heart issues rather than mollifying surface irritations.  

 Those who itching ears do scratch  
Will surely unsound doctrine hatch. 

From Paws on My Porch, by Gary Miller
© 2015 TGS International, PO Box 355, Berlin, Ohio 44610
Used by permission


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