“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left,” Matthew 25:31-33, KJV.
On the way to the Interstate near our home, there is a “country short cut” that I love to take. I love it because there is a farm that has sheep and goats, together, in one pasture. Now, I don’t know if all sheep and goats act like these, but this particular herd captures my attention. The sheep are normally calm, grazing on grass and oblivious to the antics of their counterparts. The goats, however, are jumpy—they are butting heads with each other, fighting over patches of grass, or playing “king of the mountain” on the high spot on the rock pile in their field. The sheep glance over at the goats on occasion, as they chew contentedly on their grass, and they seem to wonder what is causing the goats to be so anxious.
This herd is a picture of us in the pasture of living. Those who know Jesus and trust Him to be their Shepherd can be calm and content as they go through life. They do not need to be anxious about their provisions and they do not have to worry about being on top of the pile. The goats, on the other hand, those who do not know Jesus and who depend upon themselves to provide their patch in life and be on the top of the pile, are consistently concerned with their welfare. They butt heads with others who would stand in their way of getting what they want and they cannot relax because someone else might spot their weakness and move in for a victory.
The passage today reminds us that Jesus will separate the sheep and the goats. He knows which individuals trust Him to be the Shepherd of their lives and those who depend on themselves to make it. He knows which ones are anxious and fighting over patches of success to prove their worth in the herd. How much better to trust the Shepherd and be a calm, contented sheep, than to have to butt heads with others to try to be top dog—or goat, as the case may be.
Thought provoker: Are you acting like a sheep or a goat? Take some time today and determine whether or not you trust the Good Shepherd. If not, ask Him to be your Shepherd today!
Lord, thank You that You are the Good Shepherd. Thank You for Your provision and protection and that I can be calm and content in Your presence. You do all things well—and that includes taking care of me! Thank you! Amen.