20050118

where we stand?

the sheep and the goats
(matthew 25:31-45)

"when he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the son of man will take his place on his glorious throne. then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

"then the king will say to those on his right, "enter, you who are blessed by my father! take what's coming to you in this kingdom. it's been ready for you since the world's foundation. and here's why:

i was hungry and you fed me,
i was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
i was homeless and you gave me a room,
i was shivering and you gave me clothes,
i was sick and you stopped to visit,
i was in prison and you came to me.'

"then those "sheep' are going to say, "master, what are you talking about? when did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? and when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' then the king will say, "i'm telling the solemn truth: whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me--you did it to me.'

"then he will turn to the "goats,' the ones on his left, and say, "get out, worthless goats! you're good for nothing but the fires of hell. and why? because--

i was hungry and you gave me no meal,
i was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
i was homeless and you gave me no bed,
i was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

"then those "goats' are going to say, "master, what are you talking about? when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

"he will answer them, "i'm telling the solemn truth: whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me--you failed to do it to me.'

one of the things i have been dealing with lately is the issue of goats and sheep. what i have found is that goats like to claim to be sheep and sheep just do what jesus asks. over the past i have been more impressed with the sheep who do God's work, then the goats who claim to do God's work.

while i am not sure if it is my place to wonder which is which, i know i like hanging with sheep and i know i like talking with sheep - i have found that those who claim to be sheep (the goats) are an amazing group. yet, those who are sheep are an even more amazing group.

the amazing thing of it all is that the sheep do what they do out of a love for God that transcended reward, tax break, gold plaque, or slap on the back. in fact, they had no idea that they were being watched or graded on what they were doing - they were just doing what they felt was right. while i tend to see the goats as those who claim reward for their actions (or take credit for no action) - you know, the ones who give just enough to get a quality tax break; those who give so they can get a nice plaque on the rec-room wall; those who others know give and give, and "admire" them for their giving.

this has been something i have been dealing with. one wonders were we stand - sheep or goats?


3 comments:

fatwrath said...

"one wonders were we stand - sheep or goats?"

Apparently sheep and goat are not very good at answering that question. They don't seem to be able to self-segregate. The Shepherd can tell who is who.

This parable reminds me of PS 139:23-24. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."

Maybe PS 139:23-24 could be called, The Sheep's Prayer:
God, I want to be a sheep, but
I worry that I act like a goat.
I need You to figure it out, and
lead me back to being a sheep.

john o'keefe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
john o'keefe said...

bad spelling on on my first, had to remove it and start again.

i am not sure i would agree with that - i theink the story is that many people who think they are a sheep are in fact goats. it is not that i think i am a sheep - it is that i have no desire to be a goat. i can but be the best sheep i can be - but being a poor sheep is far better then being a good goat :)