Goats and Sheep

the shepherd and the goat” But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goars at his left.  Then the King will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

“… And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, yuou were doing it to me!’

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal flame prepared for the Devil and his demons!  For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me.  I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me anything to drink.  I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me no clothing.  I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.'”

Matthew 25:31-34, 40-43

We all like to picture ourselves like the sheep on the right hand side of the Son of Man.  Perfect, white wool drifting in the wind.  Our eyes fixed upon the shepherd, drinking in all that he does as we follow his every footstep. 

In truth, sheep are probably one of the stupidest animals there are.  They are not the pretty white wooled animals that so many artists depict on their shepherds shoulders.  No, sheep are filthy animals, covered in dirt and grime, their wool matted into dreadlocks of knots and tufts of the earth.  They wander astray because they are easilly distracted.  But yet, they are smart enough to listen and pick out the shepherds voice. 

Like sheep, we are not perfect.  At times we feel more like goats than sheep.  Abnoxious and rude.  We are filthy.  Our lives and society are filled with shameful images and thoughts, inapropriate words and curses that defile who we are. 

Sheep, like us, wander far and wide away from the shepherd, getting lost in the wilderness or stuck in a hole that we cant climb out of.  We get surrounded by wolves and fear that we will fall to their fangs.  There is a reason Shepherds carry a hooked staff.  It is the job of the shepherd to look after the sheep.  They are the ones that keep the flock safe. 

With one end of their staff, they hook their sheep to bring them back to the fold of the flock.  They use it to guide and to lead, and to rescue.  When a sheep falls beneath the shepherds grasp, they use their staff to pull the sheep back up to safety. 

On the other end, they use their staff to fight off danger that stalks the flock.  While primitive, it is effective and usefull.  It is their staff and their courage that defends the flock. 

A good shepherd will put their life on the line for their flock, the ultimate sacrifice for something they love and devote their life to.

In every flock of sheep, there is bound to be a couple of goats.  The thing about goats is that they pretend to be sheep.  They follow the crowd, the flock, because that is how they live.  By following where everyone else goes, they survive. 

Sometimes it feels like we are just a bunch of goats.  We do things because we see everyone else doing it.  We are told that if we do this, this, that, this other thing, and then something else we will get to heaven.  We do things to put ourselves on a pediastal, to get ahead of everyone else. 

In reality, we are not living for God or following his voice, we are following the crowds. 

We make excuses not to be the sheep of God’s flock.  We have so much to do.  We need to change.  We need to wash our souls and become clean before we follow a God that loves us. 

We got it wrong.  God doesn’t care that we are covered in dirt and filth.  He puts us on his shoulders anyways and carries us back to the flock.  He accepts us for who we are, with all our faults and failures, because he Loves us. 

God calls us to follow him.  He accepts us because we have been washed by his blood. 

There will always be the goats amid the flock.  There may be some with sheeps clothing, but God will see through their disguise.  He will see their actions and will see their hearts, just as he sees ours. 

In the end, there will be sheep and goats.  There is no middle ground.  No lukewarm.  No middle ground.  Either we are living for God or we are living for the world.  One cannot have two masters. 

The shepherd knows his sheep.  And they know his voice. 

God Bless and PEACE

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