Thursday, June 26, 2014

Don't Be a Dumb Goat

Have you ever watched goats? 

In Matthew 25:31-46, we are told that Jesus, when He comes in glory, will sit on His throne and every nation will be gathered before Him. He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep and goats. The sheep will be on His right (blessed) and the goats on His left (cursed). He will explain to the "sheep" that they are blessed because they fed the hungry, took in strangers, clothed the homeless, visited the sick and imprisoned, and that whatever they did to others, the same was done unto Him (Jesus). Likewise, the "goats" will be damned to eternal punishment because they did none of those things; in fact, they ignored those in need, and whatever they didn't do to others was done unto Him.

Okay, can we just talk about sheep and goats here instead of the biblical exegesis? I'm not an end-times scholar, an apologetic, a pastor or anything else smart and impressive. I have no credentials except the degree of observation. And I was just reading about goats in a backpacking magazine. (Very different from reading a biblical commentary). Apparently, a backpacker can rent goats to carry their stuff along the trail, but according to the author of the article, it wasn't really worth the effort.

Goats are apparently easy enough to train and have a good disposition---they don't spit at you like llamas. They're nimble and can climb rocky places more easily than say, a horse. And because they constantly graze as they go, you don't really have to think about feeding them. They're kind of like a dog with a beard. But they're obstinate. Stubborn. Unmotivated. Strong-willed. Stupid. Okay, sheep are stupid too. But I believe they are easier to maneuver. And they don't try to eat your clothes. The shepherd leads sheep. But he doesn't use a rope to pull them. He doesn't drive them, like cattle. He doesn't let them decide where to go. He leads them to safe pasture. And they typically follow.

Have you ever watched goats? There's a farm near my house where I often see goats in the corral/yard. One day I passed by and they were all standing on the top of some boarded structure (their goat house?). They seem to climb to the highest spot and stand there in a clump. And they don't even seem to be asking, "Okay, now what?" They seemed to be saying, "We're here and you're not." Dumb goats.

The author of the article described how he tried unsuccessfully to pull the goats along the path. One goat fell on the ground with his head twisted. The author thought the goat was dead, until he saw the goat nibbling some flowers by his head. I guess he just got tired and flopped down where he was...and decided to graze while he was down there. Dumb goat. 

Then he tried to get the goat to cross a stream. Apparently, goats are not afraid of water, but each time they get to the water, they act like it's the first time they've ever encountered it. Again, he couldn't motivate the goat to cross. Dumb goat.

And they eat clothes. Why? Dumb goats.

No wonder they're on the left side, cursed and damned. They do what they want and they seem oblivious to the rest of the world, and what's expected of them.

Are you obstinate, unmotivated, strong-willed and stubborn? I'm not going to ask if you're dumb, because it's just not nice to call anyone, especially yourself dumb. But let me tell you this-if you are acting more like a goat than a sheep, that's just dumb. Resign to follow the Shepherd. Life along the trail is so much easier when you follow the Shepherd than when you insist on remaining unmotivated, obstinate, stubborn and strong-willed. Don't be a dumb goat!

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

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