MM00066 Sheep, goats, and wolves (Part 1)
Mentoring Manna: Sheep, goats, and wolves (Part 1)
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:32) “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”(Matthew 7:15) The Lord Jesus will one day separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will inherit the kingdom prepared for them while the goats will go into everlasting punishment. The context of our passage found in Matthew 25:31-46 reveals that the sheep did not realize what distinguished them as sheep and that the goats did not know what distinguished them as goats. The question we must all consider is this: Are we a sheep or a goat? Worse still, are we a wolf? We cannot “try” to be one or the other. What we are is revealed by the nature of our relationship to the Shepherd. To help us distinguish one from the other, let us consider the following comparisons:
· Sheep love the shepherd, goats tolerate the shepherd, and wolves hate the shepherd.
· Sheep are easy to shepherd, goats are difficult to shepherd, and wolves are impossible to shepherd.
· Sheep are peacemakers, goats are agitators, and wolves are predators.
· Sheep rest in green pastures, goats roam to greener pastures, and wolves seek higher places.
· Sheep trust the shepherd’s menu, goats find their own menu, and wolves see sheep as the menu.
· Sheep are timid and trusting, goats are suspicious and questioning, and wolves are deceptive and cunning.
· Sheep love shearing time (offering), goats moan at shearing time, and wolves growl at shearing time.
· Sheep like to give, goats like to receive, and wolves like to steal.
· Sheep love life, goats endure life, and wolves kill life.
· Sheep seek reconciliation, goats seek justice, and wolves seek destruction.
· Sheep are sheared, goats are milked, and wolves are driven away.
· Sheep want a shepherd, goats need a shepherd, and wolves refuse a shepherd.
· Sheep enjoy the flock, goats will conform to the flock out of self-interest, and wolves will not conform.
· Sheep follow willingly, goats follow unwillingly, and wolves will not follow.
· Sheep look to the shepherd, goats look to the field, and wolves look for the sheep.
· Sheep love to serve, goats refuse to serve, and wolves serve themselves.
· Sheep use authority to serve, goats use authority to get out of work, and wolves use authority to make slaves.
· Sheep accept authority with responsibility, goats crave authority but begrudge responsibility, and wolves demand authority but reject responsibility.
· Sheep want accountability, goats avoid accountability, and wolves reject accountability.
· Sheep are transparent, goats are cloudy, and wolves are dark.
· Sheep graze, goats nibble, and wolves devour.
· Sheep are faithful, goats are unpredictable, and wolves are deceptive, sly and sneaky.
Application: As we consider the comparisons above, do you see patterns in your life that distinguish you as either a sheep, goat, or a wolf? If you are a sheep, you probably enjoyed the comparison. If you are a goat, you probably experienced conviction or a “yeah, BUT…”attitude. If you are a wolf, you probably did not enjoy the comparison AT ALL! No matter where we find ourselves, the good news is that we can be born again and receive a new nature in Christ---the nature of one of His sheep!
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I realize that one day I will stand before You either as a sheep, as a goat, or as a wolf. Search my heart and see if there is any nature in me that would prevent me from spending eternity with you. Forgive me for any characteristics that do not reflect the attitude of one of your sheep. Conform me to the image of Your Son Jesus. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”