Tag Archives: Matthew 25:31-46

Sheep or Goat?

Sheep and Goats

Such apparent similarities between sheep and goats.  In one field, not always easy to tell apart. Yet the differences are there, and are significant.

Matthew 25:31-46 (CEV)

The Final Judgment

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32 The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.

33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created.35 When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36 and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”

37 Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38 When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear39 or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”

40 The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”

41 Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink.43 I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.”

44 Then the people will ask, “Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?”

45 The king will say to them, “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.”

46 Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”

It wasn’t me,
I didn’t do anything much,
just what anyone would do,
just caring for my neighbour,
the starnger,
the outcast.
Making sure they were
cared for
and knew they were loved.

I don’t deserve any praise
or special treatment.

It wasn’t me.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
I have my own concerns
to worry about and care for.

I didn’t even see you Lord,
you know I would have stopped if I did.

And there are so many needs,
how would I know where to start?
What do do
How to make a difference?

There are so many others with more time and resources.

It isn’t my responsibility.

(And besides which,
I’m busy doing “church work”)

And Jesus said,

Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me

And Jesus said,

Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me

forgive me when I get caught up
in myself
and my own issues;
when I miss the need all around me,
or feel overwhelmed
or impotent
in the face of it.

Help me
to see you
in the face of every person.
May that inform
how I respond
and react.

Make me  a sheep,
not a goat

I didn’t do it

“It wasn’t me I didn’t do it”, the oft cited excuse of many.  I didn’t do what you think I did, what you’re accusing me of…

Jesus turns that totally around in theThe Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

They are accused, not of doing something wrong – but of failing to do some good.  The people are quite happy with the way they have been living, content they have been doing what they should have.  Little do they realise…  Conversely, those who have been doing good, are unaware – it is just natural to them.

Feeding the hungry, inviting in the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and imprisoned are actions that God expects; not turning a blind eye or supposing someone else will do it.  They are done, not to be seen to be doing something, but to genuinely help.  Our attitude to the needs of others says a lot about our attitude to God, and in serving others, we are also serving him.

I cannot think of this story expressed in a better way than Keith Green’s powerful retelling

The conclusion:

the only difference between the sheep and the goats, was what they did – and didn’t do!


what have I done,

or not done?

Forgive me

for the good I could have done

and didn’t,

for doing things just to be seen,

for leaving others to struggle,

for failing to serve

both my fellow human being

and you.

May I see what others need

and give it

to them and to you