Think about this: How many people that profess to be Christian (in name) actually use their faith to reach out and touch the lives of those in need? My past experience attending the average born again Christian church was that most people are just, “Sunday only,” Christians. Sadly the goats are typically more in number than the sheep.
Oh sure, they believe in God and in Jesus, and they may even read their Bible daily and pray. But the problem I see with getting with organized religion is that people think if they go to church and give money in the offering plate that they have done all that God has required of them. Nothing is further from the truth!
Going to church on Sunday morning does not make a person a Christian any more than going to MacDonald’s makes a person into a Big Mac! To be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ means you follow the same lifestyle Jesus followed. Jesus did only those things, which God told him to do. He told his disciples, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”
There is a story Jesus told in the Bible about the sheep and the goats. The sheep were Christians who showed their love for God and for Jesus Christ by helping others. In this parable, Jesus likens the goats to those Christians that SAID they loved him, but did not lift a finger to help those less fortunate. The reason we know both groups are professing believers is because the sheep and goats both call Jesus by the title of, “Lord,” in this parable.
Below is the Bible text for you to read for yourself and I have highlighted the important parts regarding the role you and I and all true believers should use as a sort of guideline for how and what the Lord expects of us as far as our individual giving is concerned.
31-32 When the son of man (i.e. – Jesus Christ) comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats;
33-36 and he will cause the sheep to stand at his right hand, but the goats at his left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you blessed of my Father; you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation, inherit and receive as your own the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see me.
37-39 Then the just and upright (i.e. – the sheep) will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcomed and entertained you, or naked and clothed you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and came to visit you?”
40 And the king will reply to them, “Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these my brethren, you did it for me.”
41-43 Then he will say to those at his left hand (i.e. – the goats), “Be gone from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me and entertain me, I was naked and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me with help and ministering care.”
44 Then the goats will answer him saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?”
45-46 And he will reply to them, “Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least of these, you failed to do it for me. Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life. Amplified Bible (highlighting & insertions mine)
One day at the great judgment, Jesus will sit upon his throne and he will separate the people (separate true Christians from pseudo-believers) from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. Do you know anything about the nature of these two animal groups?
Sheep are docile creatures and they are followers; they prefer having the Good Shepherd lead them, whereas goats are typically stubborn creatures, and fiercely independent and extreme greedy. In the churches today there are two kinds of natures found in people…sheep and goats. The sheep Christian follows Jesus as the Good Shepherd by obeying him; the goat pseudo-Christian is selfish and cannot discern true needs when he or she sees a person in need because goats are too self-absorbed. They prefer to watch TV instead of writing a letter to someone in prison, or play golf on the weekend, instead of helping an elderly neighbor; you get the idea.
Notice what Jesus said to the sheep but especially note what the sheep said in reply each time the Lord commends them for helping him (this is very important to your walk with God):
· Jesus said: I was hungry and you gave me food
· Sheep replied: Lord, WHEN did we see you hungry and gave you food?
· Jesus said: I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.
· Sheep replied: Lord, WHEN did we see you thirsty and gave you something to drink?
· Jesus said: I was a stranger and you brought me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged me.
· Sheep replied: And WHEN did we see you a stranger and welcomed and entertained you?
· Jesus said: I was naked and you clothed me.
· Sheep replied: Lord, WHEN did we see you naked and clothed you?
· Jesus said: I was sick and you visited me with help and ministering care.
· Sheep replied: Lord, WHEN did we see you and came to visit, help and minister care to you?
· Jesus said: I was in prison and you came to see me.
· Sheep replied: Lord, WHEN did we see you?
Isn’t it unusual the sheep did not realize it was Jesus that they fed, or clothed, or visited when sick or in prison? You see, God may present opportunities for you to give, and you probably won’t realize it is really Jesus that you are caring for. By “Jesus” I mean his brethren, which in this context are those children of God in need. You see every time we reach out to help someone else, it is the same as if helping the Lord Jesus himself.
I thought you’d find that interesting; any comments? Please feel free to drop me a note any time at my email address email@example.com Who do you think the sheep and the goats are? What has your experience been?
God bless you,
Craig L. Bluemel - The Bible Answer Stand Ministry
Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do so courteously & respectfully. 1 Peter 3:15