Am I a Goat?

Posted: November 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

I John 3:1 & 16-17 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.  And that is what we are!  This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

Following the example of Jesus we should “lay down our lives for our brothers.”  We give generously to meet the needs of those are in need.  The Bible presents this theme over and over and over again.  Take some time to reflect on these verses below:

1 John 4:7-8, 11-12, & 19-21 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love… Dear friends, since God so loves us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us… If anyone says, ‘I love God’ yet hates His brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command:  Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Deuteronomy 15:10-11 “Give generously to your needy brother and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

If you have ever uttered the words, “I love you” to God or anyone else you have made an awesome,  powerful statement! How each of us longs to hear those words?  But those words are an empty fading vapor if they are not supported by action.  We actively love each other when we take the time to find the need of another and then do what we can to meet it.   I would be so bold to say that the only way we can really love God is to meet the needs of others.  I John is clear that we love the God we cannot see when we meet the needs of those we can see.   Reflect on this theological question:  What does God need?  Seriously, does God need anything?  He created everything that surrounds us.  In any instant He could do it again.  Even though God desires a relationship with each of us personally, He does not actually need it.  He is complete in and of Himself.   How could we do anything for God that He would actually need from us?  Talk about the struggle of finding a gift for the person who has everything.  God really does have everything He needs.  So, this is how we live out our love for God, we strive to meet the needs of those people He has put in our lives.

One of the sobering passages in the Bible is Matthew 25:31-46.  In this Scripture Jesus shares with us the parable of the sheep and the goats:

“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.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Every time I reflect on this passage I prayerfully ask myself, “Is it self-evident from observing my life that I am a sheep and not a goat?”  It is an intimidating question!  Can I find evidence in my life that assures me that I am living a generous life?  Jesus does not pull any punches here.  Am I feeding those who are hungry?  Am I helping those dying of thirst find clean water to drink?  Do I shelter those that have no place to live?  Have I clothed those that do not have proper clothes to wear?  Am I caring for those who are sick and dying?  When was the last time I visited anybody in prison?  Jesus makes it crystal clear what true love is, it is meeting the needs of the “least of these.”  Literally, not figuratively,  every single time we do something for the least of these, we are serving Jesus.  Re-read His reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

 

What are your thought?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s