Kansas City, Kansas l jm@jmhuxley.com

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Separating the Sheep from the Goats

November 17, 2018

 

 

Okay, so the title of this blog is weird. Unless you know anything about Jesus, and even then, it's still a little strange. Really, there are few things less compelling than a title like that. Unless you know a point is being made, until you see the practical truth of it.

 

Jesus called his followers sheep. In fact, he said we should want to be like sheep. Not goats. Definitely not goats.  Because one day he is going to separate the sheep from the goats and at that time, none of us will want to get caught as a goat.

 

To be a goat is to be in stinking trouble.

 

Someone once asked me at church what I thought about that perspective on sheep and goats, because, you see, as a goat owner, most people consider me an expert on all things goats. Even Bible things.

 

Good grief.

 

 

I don't know sheep. I have goats. So I can only tell you why I think goats come out on the parabolic short end of things. Why sheep are the animal to aspire to, I can only hypothesize.

 

Goats can be ornery. They may be cute sometimes but they also butt heads and fight and act snarly. They step all over one another to get to food and heaven forbid any creature is in the way when a stampede gets underway.

 

Goats are really rude.

 

Goats can become lifelong friends but they can also care little for each other too. Though they need companionship to thrive, they will blindly walk away from any member of the herd that needs help or ails. They can, like all species, abandon their young on occasion, giving them up to predators in search of green grass for themselves.

 

 

Goats are really self-centered.

 

And they're not very smart either, and this is the point I think Jesus was trying to make. Sometimes goats won't listen to the voice that calls them in from the storm. Worse, sometimes they'll follow the wrong one, the one that isn't the master but the thief. They'll follow any voice they hear, particularly if they think that voice might give them food. Once, a group of teenaged boys stole several of our goats for a prank. Our goats had no trouble going with them and we later found those ruminants scattered about the countryside, vulnerable to predators, one down by the railroad tracks.

 

Goats really have no discernment.

 

Sheep, on the other hand, will only respond only to the voice of their shepherd. From what I understand, sheep won't be deterred or led off by an imposter. Oh, they may be dumb and selfish too, but at least they recognize the one who will protect them. So sheep must be a little smarter than goats. 

 

 

Sheep know who their master is. They recognize and respond to his voice only.

 

Until I had goats, I didn't understand the point of separating them out from the sheep. But I do now.

 

I never thought I'd say this, but I am trying to be less goat-like every day. I can be a pretty dumb, wandering sheep, and I am often rude and selfish. 

 

But most of the time, I do know my Shepherd's voice. 

 

 

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