By Pauline Hylton
Now that I've been a farmer for almost two years, I've learned a few things.
For instance, I can tell you that a bushhog is not a pig hiding in the undergrowth—it's a machine. And straw and hay are not the same—just ask a horse. Did you know chickens do not need a rooster to lay an egg? I do. Now.
I can also tell the difference between a sheep and a goat. So can the Lord.
If you take a look at today's reading in Matthew 25: 31-46 you can see what I mean. Jesus speaks of a day when He will judge the earth. Verses 31-32 state this:
"But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left."
Jesus goes on to clarify what He means. In the story, the sheep represent true believers and goats represent those who claim to believe but are not. The 'goats' show they are not true believers by their lack of action.
I'm not saying anyone earns his or her way to heaven, not only is that impossible, it's unbiblical. I'm just sharing with you what God's Son said.
And what He says is important. Life-giving. It's also life-taking—like this passage.
In a world where people mention God or Jesus or spirituality, it's important to understand what it means—or perhaps what it doesn't mean.
It doesn't mean when people mention god it is the God of the Bible. People like to dress god up to look like them. Kind of like the Greeks did—a god who is okay with promiscuity or lying or cruelty.
The Great Jehovah transcends all of that.
These 'goats' talk about Jesus as a great man or a prophet, or one way to God. Yet Jesus says "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." John 14:6
Jesus demands exclusivity.
Someone might say, "I'm a spiritual person."
My response is "But are you a saved person?"
You might receive a shocked face if you say those words to someone—even an angry face, and in some countries you may receive imprisonment or torture or even death. That just means you're a sheep.
And then some of you may who are reading this may be goats and may not even be aware of it. You may be serving in your church and receive a perfect attendance Sunday School pin. But it means nothing because you do it all for the wrong reasons. Perhaps pressure from your family, or tradition, or church is another form of social networking for you.
I have one word for you—repent! Turn from trusting in your works or your idea of God and turn to Christ today.
Or face His judgment tomorrow.
Listen to verse 41 in the last part of our Matthew passage:
"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
Don't be a goat, be a sheep.
Your forever depends on it.
Copyright © 2015, Pauline Hylton, used by permission.
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Pauline Hylton is a freelance writer and newbe farmer who lives outside of Mayberry on an old tobacco farm. She and her husband Tom are raising vegetables, 75 spoiled hens, 3 dogs, 3 kittens, and 4 pigs. She's also selling homemade salsa, pesto, and jellies. Her 94-year-old Mama lives with them and shares in this new life. Pauline's investing in heaven while living on earth. She loves her Lord, her family, and dark chocolate—not necessarily in that order.
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