Mathew 25:31-33 (NIV)”When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
In this verse, as in many others in the bible, we can see a clear distinction that God makes between sheep’s and goats. The question is, which are you? Is there a clear distinction between you and a nonbeliever (One who does not believe or have faith, as in God or a philosophy)? Well, keep reading and you will find out.
First, lets take a look at why God refers to humans as sheep’s and goats. There is a huge difference between a sheep and a goat. There should always be a difference between us and nonbelievers. We shouldn’t act, speak or think alike. We should always strive to be the light, to be different and be an example. Sure, we will always make mistakes, but everyday we can choose not to repeat those same mistakes and learn from them instead. It’s important to live our lives so that people know us as Christians, not because we say we are, but because they see the way we live. Sheep are sheep because they look and act like sheep. Goats are goats because they look and act like goats.
John 15:18-19 (NIV) “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you”
Sheep and goats face challenges differently though. If you look closely at the life of a goat, whenever it has to face a challenge it runs away, it rebels against its master and runs off alone. Sometimes for us it’s the easiest thing to do too, to runaway. I know I’ve said many times “maybe if I left the country or the state, all of my problems would go away.” and as nice as that would be, it’s just not true. So unpack your bags, you’re headed for quite a journey.
So what about sheep? when they face a challenge they like to do it together, they stick together and they look for their master for guidance. As a team, we need to stick together. We are called to care for each other, pray for each other and lift each other up. More importantly though, we need to look to our master who is Christ and be guided by Him and our Pastors/Church Leaders.
Another important distinction between the two is that sheep like multitudes of sheep and goats like leading sheep astray. Sheep become stressed out when they are separated from their flock members. Ask yourself, does it bother me at all when I miss a service? Or am I satisfied congregating once a month, or once a year? Have I conformed? As sheep it’s important to surround yourself with other sheep at all times. To influence and be influenced by other sheep.
Meat packers have an interesting nickname for goats. They will train an old goat and name him “Judas”. The purpose of this goat is to lead sheep to the slaughter house. In a congregation goats will divide it, leading the sheep astray. This is what happens sometimes within our church walls. Undercover goats work hard to lead sheep astray. It is something that needs our attention and needs to change.
Sheep also have good hearing. This tells me that as Christians we must be good listeners as well. I believe that a good listener is a good winner of souls for Christ. People want to be heard. Be someone that listens, someone that comprehends and brings people towards Christ. Not one that leads others astray. Don’t be like the goat that is capricious, impulsive & unpredictable. Goats don’t care about anyone but themselves and will trample you to get what they want.
If you want to be a sheep, start acting like one. If you want to be a follower of Christ, you have to be like Christ. This requires you to listen and treat others with kindness just as Christ does. Respect people and treat them as if they were Christ Himself.
So you decide, are you a sheep or a goat?